History of Huntingdon and Blair Counties, Pennsylvania by J. Simpson Africa Philadelphia, PA: Louis H. Everts, 1883, pp. 268-279. Contributed by Mike Gifford.
This township extends northeast from the Little Juniata to the Centre County line, a distance of nearly twelve miles, embracing the Spruce Creek Valley and the country lying between the Tussey Mountains on the southeast and the hills of Warrior's Mark township on the northwest. The average width of the township is about four and a half miles. The surface has a general inclination towards the river, and that part of it in the valley of Spruce Creek in underlaid by limestone, and has a very productive soil. Although limited in extent, these lands are held in high esteem for agricultural purposes, and the valley contains a number of fine and well improved farms. The evidences of comfort and plenty appear in the form of good roads and fences and handsome homes. Much of the northwestern slope of the valley contains rich deposits of iron ore, the development of which has enriched the township, and given it a foremost position among the iron manufacturing districts of the State. Within its bounds are two extensive furnaces, and in the best period of the manufacture of charcoal-iron it was the seat of six or eight forges. For the successful carrying on of these enterprises Spruce Creek and its principal affluent, Warrior's Mark Run, have been important factors. The former is a rapid, constant stream of clear mountain water, affording a number of powers in its course which have been well utilized. The latter stream has a smaller volume, but is also constant and supplied with mill-seats. It has a general southeastern course, and flows into Spruce Creek three miles above its mouth. The township is well supplied with springs, some of which are remarkable for their size and the excellence of their waters.
Early Settlers and Old Surveys. - Mention has already been made of Alexander Ewing. On Aug. 31, 1786, he took warrant for three hundred and fifty acres of land, including improvements begun in 1777. The survey, containing three hundred and eighty-four acres and one hundred and forty perches, preserves the north of Ireland name of "Aughnacloy." His next neighbor on the south, Zephaniah Weakland, owned an improvement made in May, 1786, by Jacob Miner. Elexous Fowler, another neighbor on the northwest side, owned a tract, including Spruce Creek, that was improved in 1783. The tract next below Weakland's is the old Travis farm called "Moulines," and was first improved in May, 1777. Continuing down the creek we find Abraham Dean's tract at the Great Falls, called Mexico, the warrant for which was issued Sept. 2, 1784. From this tract to near the mouth of the creek, which was then called the East Branch of the Little Juniata, the best land had been taken up by speculators in 1766. Richard Rickets, in 1786, owned the tract at the junction of Warrior's Mark Run with Spruce Creek, that had been improved in 1781. Immediately below the forks and on the western side of the creek an improvement was begun in 1761 on a tract that in 1791 was divided between and occupied by John Spanogle and Henry Nearhoof. Passing down the creek the next old and adjoining survey included parts of the farms of John Q. Adams, Robert L. Henderson, David P. Henderson, and others. Immediately below and extending along the creek to its junction with the Little Juniata and up the north bank of that stream for more than half a mile, is a tract held by a warrant issued June 14, 1762, probably the oldest in the township. The application describes it as being "situated in the forks of Little Juniata Creek, including the clear meadows." On the original field work of this survey, made Sept. 12, 1766, occurs probably the earliest application of the name "Spruce Creek" to the stream now known by that designation.
Feb. 22, 1788, Abraham Sells applied for a warrant for twenty-five acres of land "lying on the mouth of Spruce Creek, including of one mill." The improvement was made in 1766.
On the 10th of July, 1789, James Hunter surveyed a route for a road from the head of the Cool Run to the Indian fording on Spruce Creek. The beginning tree stood at the road leading from Huntingdon to Northumberland. The points noted along the route were Charles Montgomery's barn, George Mathorn's lane, and John Smith's barn. The line crossed Warrior's Mark Run, and appeared to terminate about fifty-six perches southwest therefrom. Hunter, who was a surveyor of extensive practice, became the owner by deeds, executed in 1794 and 1795, of a large and valuable farm, since subdivided and held by Robert L. Henderson, John Q. Adams, and others. He resided there for a number of years. In 1817 it became the property of Joseph Moore.
The Gensimer, Pat. Madden, Dysart Plum Bottom, Stewart, Seeds and other farms are parts of the London Company's land, and were warranted in 1766. An Indian path extending from Water Street to the path leading from Frankstown to the Bald Eagle's Nest, shown upon the olds maps, traversed these lands in a northwest direction from the crossing of the Little Juniata, a short distance above Spruce Creek village.
James Armitage settled at an early date on Warrior's Mark Run, near Huntingdon Furnace, and warranted several tracts of land. The oldest warrant was issued July 23, 1776, and a survey was made theron the next year by Thomas Smith, then deputy surveyor. Other warrants for adjacent lands were granted to him in 1785, 1786, and 1788. Some time before 1787 he had erected a grist-mill.
The following names appear upon the first assessment taken after the organization of the township at March sessions, 1789:
Township Assessment - 1789
Some of the foregoing were among the first settlers, but many had lived for a period in Franklin, and removed to distant parts, leaving no account of their settlement of the township.
George Mattern, a native of Germany, came from Maryland in 1779, and the following year secured a deed for his land, upon which he had already built a cabin. Into this he and his family moved the same year. Besides Catherine, his wife, there were children named George, Jacob, Adam, Andrew, David, John, Elizabeth, and Catherine. The cabin stood near where was afterwards the "Seven Stars" building, a large log house used for tavern purposes many years, and which was not demolished until 1866. The elder Mattern died in 1810. His daughters married Truman Curtis and Andrew Truby. George, the oldest son, married Catherine Hyskell, and settled west of Franklinville, on the present John B. Thompson farm, where he died in 1833. He was the father of John Mattern, of Centre County; Samuel, living at Franklinville at the age of eighty-five years; George P., and Jacob S., deceased. The daughters married Henry Fulton, John Gray, Isaac Gray, and William McPherran. The second son of George, Sr., Jacob, lived on the homestead until his death in 1851, at the age of eighty-one years. He was the father of sons named John W., David B., Andrew, and Henry, who moved to the West; George W., owning the homestead; William J., living in Clarion County; and Jacob and Jeremiah, living in Hollidaysburg. Daughters married Samuel Conrad, Williams Stevens, George Shoup, John B. Thompson, Samuel Miller, and Alexander Babb. John and Andrew Mattern moved to Ohio and Clarion County. David, the fifth son, married Catherine Wareham, and died on the present Ingram farm in Franklin township. He had daughters who married John Marks and Samuel Marks, of Tyrone; Samuel Jones, of the same place; Caleb Jones of Minnesota; Angus Gill, of Clearfield; and Nicholas Parks, of Franklin. His sons were named David J., John W., and George, the latter being killed by a railway engine at Tyrone Forges.
About the same time, 1780, Charles Montgomery, an Irishman, came from Maryland and settled on the present Stewart farm. He died in the township at an advanced age. Of his sons, John removed to Williamsburg; Thomas died in the township, one of his daughters becoming the wife of William B. Johnston; Charles, after living on the homestead a number of years, removed to Armstrong County. The daughters married John Porter, of Alexandria, and John King, who removed to Clarion County.
William Ingram settled on the present Ingram farm about 1787, living there until his death some time about 1830. He had two sons, John and William. A daughter married Samuel Wigton, of Franklin. The oldest son was married to Mary Ann McCartney, and they were the parents of sons named Robert O., William D., and John W. Ingram. Adjoining the Ingram farm lived as pioneers John Nichol and James Clarke, and below Ingram was the farm on which lived Robert McCartney, one of the earliest prominent settlers of Franklin. [Robert McCartney was drowned Wednesday, Jan. 27, 1813, in fording the Little Juniata at James Gray's fording, near the Dr. McPherran place. Up to February 11th his body had not been recovered, and his administrators offered a reward to twenty dollars for its recovery. He was remarkable for his stature, being six feet and six inches in height.] Farther up the stream, on a farm yet owned by the Travis family, John Travis settled at an early day. His son James was the progenitor of the family now living in Franklin. Next above was the farm of George Thompson, of Irish descent, the father of Gardner M. and Harris Thompson, who removed to Illinois. Evan Crain lived on the farm next above the latter, and was a settler there before any of the foregoing. The road leading from his improvements was called "Crain's path," and was a landmark among the pioneers. He was the father of sons names John, Evan, Henry, Abraham, and Benjamin, and descendants of his family yet remain in the township.
Alexander Ewing crossed Tussey's Mountain from Barree before 1790, and settled at what is now Graysville, owning a large tract of land in that vicinity, and being also the owner of mills. He was a devout Presbyterian, and in 1809 went to Lancaster County to procure a large Bible, which he carried all the way in his arms to his Franklin home. This book is now the property of his grandson, A. B. Ewing, of Franklinville. He died in 1828, and his wife in 1831. Of their children, Thomas, the oldest son, married a daughter of John Bailey and removed to the West; William, the second son, born in 1798, married Rachel Gray and removed to Venango County. He was the father of Alexander G. Ewing, of Franklin Township. James, another son, was the husband of Esther Bailey, and lived until his death at Graysville, departing this life in 1854. The youngest son, John, born in 1808, is yet a resident of Graysville; Mary, a daughter, became the wife of James G. McWilliams, of Centre County, and is also a resident of the above place at the age of eighty-two years. At Graysville, Jonathan Williams was an early settler, following the blacksmith's trade. Subsequently he made axes on Fowler's Run near the gap of the mountain. He attained legislative honors, and was elected associate judge. His sons were John B., George W., Thomas, and Samuel, the latter being a banker at McVeytown, Mifflin Co.
David Stewart, a native of Dauphin County, came to Pennsylvania Furnace as a manager, but subsequently became an associate of John Lyon and Anthony Shorb as owners of the furnace. In 1831 he moved to Coleraine Forges, and lived there until his death in May 1869, aged seventy-seven years. He was the father of S. C. Stewart, of Tyrone Forges, and of other sons who removed to Ohio. Two of his daughters were married to the Rev. J. R. Hughes and L. M. Speer, also of that State; and two others, Catherine W. and Margaret, occupy the homestead at Coleraine. A sister of David Stewart became the wife of John Lyon, who was the father of George W. Lyon, of Pennsylvania Furnace.
George Anshutz, the pioneer of the iron interests in Huntingdon County, lived at Huntingdon Furnace from about 1795 until 1830, when he removed to Pittsburgh. He had sons named George, Jacob and Christian, who left the township about the same time. At a later period James and Joseph Dysart settled southwest from the furnace, coming from Mifflin County. They were the sons of Joseph Dysart, and nephews of Col. Alexander Dysart, of Sinking Valley, for a number of years one of the most popular men in the county. James Dysart married Betsey Roller, a daughter of Phillip Roller, of Morris, and moved to Lee County, Ill. He was the father of John Dysart, of Porter township; of the Hon. Joseph P. Dysart of Iowa; and of sons named Alexander, William, Philip, and Samuel, living in Illinois. Joseph Dysart lived on a farm adjoining James' for many years, when he moved to Tyrone. His daughters became the wives of E. B. Isett, Dr. Samuel Conrad, and --- McClain. The sons were named Wilson, James, John and William.
Daniel Conrad, from Lancaster County, lived on Eden Hill until his death. He was the father of daughters who married George Dinsmore, David Henderson, James Dickson, and William Hunt. The sons were Samuel, who became a Baptist minister in Indiana County; Daniel, who died in Franklin; John, who lived at McAlevy's Fort until his death, and who was the father of Wilbur F. Conrad, of Tyrone; and Fletcher, Benson W., and Charles Conrad, of Philadelphia.
In the same neighborhood Hugh Seeds improved a farm which is now owned by his son, John C. Robert Henderson, a native of County Derry, Ireland, came from Chester County about 1800, and died on the Bald Eagle Ridge some eight years later, leaving a family of eight children. Of these, Samuel, the oldest, died on the Henry Kuhn place; Thomas removed to Ohio; Robert died in Centre County; John died in Warrior's Mark (he was the father of Robert L. Henderson of that township); Joseph removed to Colorado, and Elias to California; David, of whom we append a short sketch, another son, has lived in Franklin and vicinity most of the time since 1800. He was married to Margaret Conrad, and reared children as follows: Robert L., residing on the "Moore" farm; Thomas K., living at Union Furnace; Samuel C., living at Warrior's Mark; David P., occupying the homestead; Elizabeth married Daniel Weight; and Isabella, John S. Weight, both of Warrior's Mark; Jane, Samuel Dysart, of Illinois; and Mary, living at Spruce Creek.
David Henderson was born June 30, 1797, in Bald Eagle Valley, in what is now Taylor township, Centre Co., Pa. His father, Robert Henderson, was a native of the Emerald Isle, and emigrated to this country from County Derry during the Revolutionary War. He reared a family of nine sons and one daughter. He died when David, the subject of this memoir, was but seven years old, leaving him at that tender age to the charity of a cold, unfeeling world. When fourteen years of age he was employed by the Anshutz Iron Company at Huntingdon Furnace to carry their mail to and from Alexandria, Pa., which was then their nearest post-office. This position he filled for one year, at the expiration of which time he was apprenticed to Joseph Wagner to learn the shoemaking business. After serving three years and learning his trade, he for a time worked as a journeyman shoemaker. He then for the purpose of bettering his fortune went to the State of Ohio, accomplishing most of the distance on foot. Arrived at his destination he worked for some time at his trade. He was then prostrated by a severe attack of sickness, on recovering from which he concluded to retrace his steps to the land of his nativity. Purchasing a horse for forty dollars he made the homeward journey on horseback, arriving at Wallace's Tavern, near Union Furnace, with but twelve and one-half cents in his purse. This he paid for a feed for his horse, then made his way to Half-Moon Valley, where he joined his mother in her humble home.
Soon after he commenced working at his trade in Franklin township, on the premises now owned by Judge Laporte, his only capital being the forty dollars received for his horse. Here he did a large amount of work for the extensive iron-works in that neighborhood, viz., Pennsylvania, Bald Eagle, and Huntingdon Furnaces and Coleraine Forges. It was at a time when the work had to be done entirely by hand, and he employed as many as eighteen journeymen at one time. He received his pay in bar-iron, which he wagoned to Pittsburgh twice a year. About the time he thought the teams would have reached the summit of the Allegheny Mountains he would start on foot, overtake and precede them to Pittsburgh, where he would sell his iron, purchase leather, etc., to reload his wagons for their homeward trip. In 1821 he married Margaret Conrad, a most estimable lady, who, after a life of exemplary Christian piety and usefulness, died April 10, 1877, at the age of seventy-seven years. Mr. Henderson in 1831 commenced farming on the farm now known as the homestead, one and a half miles from the village of Spruce Creek, in Franklin township, Huntingdon Co., Pa. For the farm he paid the then large sum of seventeen hundred dollars. To the pursuit thus adopted by him he ever afterwards devoted his undivided energies. He never speculated nor engaged in any other business, and in time became, as is now said by many, one of the most successful farmers in the county, paying for one farm only to buy and in time to pay for another. In the year 1864 he purchased property in the village of Spruce Creek, to which he removed and where he spent the last years of his life, dying Oct. 7, 1882. At the time of his death he was possessed of considerable wealth of real and personal estate. He was the father of a large family of children, four sons and four daughters being still living. He died surrounded with all the comforts of life which wealth, domestic happiness, and filial affection were capable of affording, and universally esteemed and respected. Mr. Henderson was a man of genial disposition, social habits, and kindly nature. In his after-years he became very fond of entertaining his friends with the reminiscences and experience of early life, an interesting fund of which a good memory had blessed him with. He commenced the battle for life under adverse circumstances, but fought it bravely and well with none of the modern advantages of an early education. Without money or friends, and with nothing to rely upon but his own resources, his success in life was owing entirely to diligence in business, untiring industry, and that keen insight into human nature and the practical business affairs of life with which nature had endowed him; and he is an evidence of what may be accomplished by prudence, economy, and industry, habits which, if strictly observed and properly cultivated, cannot fail of ultimate success.
The lands lying at the mouth of Spruce Creek were warranted June 4, 1762, but were not patented until many years afterwards. On the east side of the creek the Bebault brothers erected simple mills in the colonial period, and made other slight improvements. During the Revolution this property was occupied by Levi Hicks, who operated the mill. He was a brother of Moses and Gershom Hicks, both unmarried men, who had their home at Water Street. Levi had a half-breed for a wife and several children. This fact led him to believe that he would have immunity from Indian attacks, and he subsequently paid no heed to the warnings of his neighbors, who urged him to go to some fort, in the spring of 1778, when Indians were reported to be about. On the 12th day of May that year he started his mill as usual, early in the morning, and then went to get his breakfast. While at the house he procured a needle and thread to mend his moccasins, and returning to the mill seated himself in the door to do this work. He soon heard rustling of leaves near the mill, but having no idea that Indians were about, he imprudently, and contrary to his custom, went to see what caused it, leaving his wife in the mill. While advancing towards the spot from whence the noise issued, he was shot through the heart. Mrs. Hicks heard the gun and ran down to the river, crossed the fording, and sped with all haste toward Lytle's Fort. On the way she met a horseman, but could hardly make him understand her, but when he comprehended the story he quickly rode to the fort. Mrs. Hicks then for the first time saw her boy, about ten years old, following her, which recalled her thoughts to her children. Arriving at the fort, the men there refused to go in pursuit of the Indians, on one pretext or another until the next day. They then found Hicks scalped on the spot where he fell. A little girl who had ventured out to see what the Indians were doing to her father was knocked on the head, scalped, and left for dead. The Indians left without entering the house, into which the little girl managed to crawl, where she was found the next day sitting in the corner and gibbering like an idiot. Her face and head were covered with clotted blood. Two children were lying on the floor crying, and the infant in the cradle was moaning for nourishment. The scalped girl lived a number of years, but, not having had medical attendance, became feeble-minded. No clue of the Indians could be obtained, nor did any other depredation follow the murder of Hicks. [Vide Jones, Juniata Valley.]
After the Revolution Abraham Sells lived a number of years at the mouth of Spruce Creek, and later Jacob Beigle owned a tract of six hundred acres on both sides of the river, including the mill-seat, which was parceled out among his sons. In 1827, Jacob Isett purchased the property, and the same year his son, John S., made it his home, residing at Spruce Creek since that period. He was born at Arch Spring, Oct. 14, 1799, and at the age of twenty-six years married Mary N., a daughter of Edward Bell, of Bell's Mills. Of their family, nine attained majority, viz.: Edward B., president of the Altoona Bank, but residing at Spruce Creek; William D., a merchant in Altoona; Jacob H., living on part of the homestead; John D., a citizen of the upper part of the valley; and daughters who married, Eleanor, James K. Lawrence; Mary, James Gardner, who died at Spruce Creek in 1858; Ann, C. F. Sargent, of West Philadelphia; and Lucretia, the youngest, is the wife of Dr. Sidney Thompson, of Spruce Creek.
Following the development of the iron interests of Franklin, the population increased rapidly, many of those coming in remaining as permanent settlers. The property list of the divided township contained the following names in 1812:
In 1880 the population of Franklin township was 1129.
Robert E. Stewart was born in County Down, Ireland, and when forty years old left his native land, and in the sailing-ship "Faithful" sailed for the new world beyond the sea. After a stormy passage of ten weeks he landed in New York, and with a spade on his back with which to examine the soil, he started inland on foot. His idea was to travel until he found a location where land was cheap and the soil good. Arrived in the big valley in Huntingdon County, Pa., he obtained employment on a farm, where he remained a short time. Here he met with Miss Elizabeth Emmet, who, unknown to him, had crossed the ocean in the same vessel and at the same time he did. Miss Emmet was thirty years of age, full of life and vigor, and well fitted to be a pioneer wife and mother. After a short courtship they were married. The next spring they came into what is now Franklin township, and located on six hundred and forty acres of land he had bought from the State. As they looked over the broad acres they had bought, covered with the primeval forest, watered by mountain brooks and springs of pure water, with wild game of every kind in great abundance, and with the streams stocked with every variety of fish, and felt that it was all theirs, it seemed to their proud hearts a second garden of Eden. They named it Eden Farm, and it is still known as Eden Hill.
Until Mr. Stewart could build a cabin they lived and slept under a large oak tree. The cabin was built of poles, and covered with short boughs and dirt, and served as a home until fall. The cabin built, he cleared away the trees and brush from a spot whereon he raised a good garden, and later in the year had prepared a piece for buckwheat, on which he raised a crop that season. By fall he had built a comfortable log house, every part of which he made with his axe, save the roof, and it was thatched with straw. In the home thus built their children - who were Alexander, Martha, Elizabeth, and Robert - were born (the last of these died in boyhood), and in it Mr. Stewart died in 1837. His wife died there also, after living sixty years on the farm which she lived to see in truth a garden of Eden to herself and children.
When they first settled on the place the Indians were still very troublesome, and Mr. Stewart and his wife many times slept in the bushes at night, and he learned what it was to dodge around among the hills, expecting every moment to hear the crack of the red man's rifle. At times, when the danger from the Indians became too great, the family would leave their homes and go to the fort at Huntingdon.
They were both members of the Presbyterian Church, and were strict in their observance of the Sabbath and church rules. At his death he left half of his farm to his two daughters, the balance to his son Alexander, who was born Aug. 18, 1794. Growing to manhood on the home farm, among the dangers and hardships of pioneer life, he seemed to inherit the sterling virtues and the rugged character of the men of the times. His school experience was confined to fourteen and one-half days at the Birmingham school. After the school-house was built in the neighborhood he generally boarded the teacher, with whose assistance, after school hours, he fitted himself for any ordinary business.
He married Miss Elizabeth Evens, who was born on shipboard in 1796, when her parents were emigrating from Scotland to this country. They bought a farm in Allegheny County, Pa , on which they settled, and on which they were living when Mr. Stewart went to their neighborhood to visit a friend. He met and became acquainted with Miss Evens, and six months after returned, and their marriage was the result. Prior to her parents settling in Allegheny County, they remained a short time in North Carolina, where they first landed. The wedding tour of the new married couple was a horseback ride from the home of the bride to that of the groom. Her horse, saddle, and bridle was her wedding dowry. In 1840 Mr. Stewart erected a fine cut-stone house, the like of which is not to be seen in all the country around. The cellar wall is three and one-half feet thick. The wall of the house from top to bottom is two feet thick. The stone around the windows and doors reach through the entire thickness of the wall, making a structure as strong as its internal appointments are elegant. It is now, with half of the farm then owned by him, the property of his son, Andrew Jackson.
Mr. Stewart was, like his father, a Presbyterian of the old school, as was his wife. In politics he was a Democrat, and held different township offices, though he was not a politician. He departed this life leaving behind him the record of an honest, upright life. To them were born the following children: Mary; Robert E.; George W., born Aug. 14, 1827; Martha, May 16, 1829; Elizabeth, March 3, 1831; Rachel, June 2, 1832; Andrew J., July 7, 1835; Franklin, Nov. 14, 1836; Jane, Jan. 1, 1838; William W., May 1, 1840, and David P., Feb. 27, 1842. The farm of Alexander is now owned by his sons George W. and Andrew J., both worthy representatives of an honored name.
George W. married Miss Margaret Ginter, Aug. 14, 1852. Their children were Alexander G., born Oct. 22, 1856; John E., Aug. 3, 1858; David P., Feb. 9, 1860; Elizabeth, April 11, 1862; Barbara, Jan. 15, 1864; George B. McClellan, Dec. 20, 1865; Andrew J., Nov. 8, 1867; Rachel, July 24, 1869. For his second wife he married on the 21st day of February, 1872, Miss Martha E. Goodman. Their union has been blessed with six children, viz.: James, born Jan. 22, 1873; Maggie May, March 21, 1874; Esther C., Sept. 5, 1875; Washington, May 27, 1877; Glen Dola, July 10, 1879; Alphed P., April 12, 1881.
Civil Organization. - At the March sessions of the Court of Quarter Sessions in 1789, the petition of a number of inhabitants of the north end of Tyrone township was read, setting forth the difficulties they labor under from the extent of said township, and praying for the relief in the premises, when it was
"Ordered that it be recommended to his Excellency the President, and the Supreme Executive Council, to erect the north end of Tyrone township aforesaid into a separate township and district for the purpose of electing Justices of the Peace, to be recorded by the name of Franklin Township, and bounded as follows, viz.: Beginning on the Little Juniata River, at the line of Huntingdon Township [now Porter], thence up the same to the corner of Frankstown township at Logan Narrows, thence by the line of Frankstown township to the line of Northumberland County; thence by the same to the corner of Barree township; thence by the line of Barree to the line of Huntingdon township, and thence by the same to the place of beginning."
Warrior's Mark township was set off from Franklin January sessions, 1798, and by the formation of Centre County a part of the northern end was shorn off. Since the organization the principal officers have been as follows:
1789, Shadrach Tipton; 1790, Robert Stewart; 1791, Abraham Sell; 1792, Thomas Kerr; 1793, John Mann; 1794, James Dixon; 1795, Daniel Plimpton; 1796, Benjamin Johnston; 1797, Thomas Thompson; 1798, Charles Montgomery; 1799, Jacob Truby; 1800, Mordecai Massey; 1801, Leonard Hastline; 1802, William Ingram; 1803, James Hunter; 1804, John Stull; 1805, Henry Coon; 1806, Henry Traver; 1807, John Stull; 1808, William McClellan; 1809, John Gray; 1810, Alexander Ewing; 1811, David Elder; 1812, John Nichol; 1813, George Mathorn; 1814-15, Benjamin Law; 1816, Jacob Mathorn; 1817, John Stonebraker; 1818, John Kuhn; 1819, Samuel W. Caldwell; 1820, Isaac Hazlett; 1821, Thomas Owens; 1822, James Dysart; 1823, John McFerrin; 1824, Israel Evans; 1825, William Ingram; 1826-32, John H. Stonebraker; 1833, David Garland; 1834, Joseph Tippery.
OVERSEERS OF THE POOR.
1790, Alexander Stewart; 1791, Charles Montgomery, Robert McCartney; 1792, Evan Lewis, Henry Nearhoof; 1793, John Glenn, David Scott; 1794, Andrew Boyd, Charles Montgomery; 1795, David Lewis, Samuel Marshall; 1796, John Nichol, Abraham Elder; 1797, Evan Lewis, James Gibson; 1798, George Hinkle, John Tester; 1799, Henry Nearhoof, John Borland; 1800, James Armitage, John Glenn.
SUPERVISORS OF ROADS.
1790, John Smith; 1791, Thomas Kerr, George Meek; 1792, Robert Stewart, George Meek; 1793, Thomas Weston, Henry Nearhoof; 1794, Archibald Ramsey, George Mathorn; 1795, John McClure, Charles Montgomery; 1796, James Hunter, Alexander Stewart; 1797-98, John Spanogle, David Lewis; 1799, Leonard Hartline, Mordecai Massey; 1800, Jonathan Hartsock, John Evans; 1801, Robert McCartney, Alexander Ewing; 1802, S. Marshall, Evan Crane; 1803, Jacob Truby, John Bickel; 1804, William Ingram, John Spanogle; 1805, Jonathan Travis, John Spanogle; 1806, David Elder, George Mathorn; 1807, George Thompson, John Stonebraker; 1808, John Gray, Thomas Montgomery; 1809, John Foster, Henry Peck; 1810, James Clark, Robert McCartney; 1813, John Nichol, Caleb Roller; 1814, James Borland, Jacob Mathorn; 1815-16, Edward B. Patton, Samuel Gray; 1817, Leonard Hartline, George Beigle; 1818, George Thompson, Jacob Beigle; 1819, John Stonebraker, George Thompson; 1820, John Stonebraker, John Stewart; 1821, James Clark, John Beigle; 1822-23 (no report); 1824, Thomas Ewing, Robert Moore; 1825, Charles Montgomery, Alexander Stewart; 1826, David Mattern, John McPherran; 1826, Robert Elder, William Lytle, Jr.; 1827, David Mattern, Davis Junkinger; 1828, Stephen Davis, John Stonebraker; 1829-30, Adam Rumberger, Thomas Johnston; 1831, James Wilson, Richard Jones; 1832, Henry Crane, Joseph Dysart; 1833, Thomas Montgomery, David Henderson; 1834, William H. Beck, Thomas Taylor; 1835, William H. Beck, John Allen; 1836, Joseph Wagner, John Allen; 1837, John Mark, John H. Stonebraker; 1838, James Ewing, Hugh Seeds; 1839, James Enyeart, James Travis; 1840, John W. Mattern, Samuel McPherran; 1841, Richard Jones, Christopher Getts; 1842, John McCurdy, Daniel Weight; 1843, J. S. Mattern, Anderson Henry; 1844, Samuel Jones, J. H. Stonebraker; 1845, John H. Stonebraker, Gardner M. Thompson; 1846, John H. Stonebraker, Joseph Travis; 1847, John S. Isett, J. McWilliams; 1848, John Conrad, James Oliver; 1849, Christopher Wigton, Abraham Crane; 1850, John L. Travis, John McPherran; 1851, William Coleburn, Alexander Stewart; 1852, David Henderson, John Wray; 1853, George W. Mattern, Hugh Seeds; 1854, Abraham Weight, James Ewing; 1855, J. H. Stonebraker, Abraham Crane; 1856, William B. McWilliams, J. H. Stonebraker; 1857, John B. Thompson, John L. Travis; 1858, John Keimer, G. M. Thompson; 1859, David Henderson, Frederick Crissman; 1860, James Oliver, Robert T. Henderson; 1861, David C. Gates, Abraham Weight; 1862, Samuel Sprankle, Daniel Conrad; 1863, A. Crane, A. S. McPherran; 1864, George W. Mattern, John Q. Adams; 1865, John L. Travis, Washington Stewart; 1866, George W. Reynolds, Abraham Weight; 1867, Daniel Conrad, J. B. Thompson; 1868, W. B. McWilliams, Samuel Thompson; 1869, R. C. Ingram, John McPherran; 1870-71, H. McMonigal, J. Fisher; 1872, James Oliver, J. Q. Adams; 1873, Abram Hight, John Archey; 1874, Samuel Wigton, E. E. Boist; 1875, G. W. Reynolds, Robert Henderson; 1876, C. Miller, John Ebberts; 1877, Andrew Oliver, William Wray; 1878, A. Minnimer, James S. Mattern; 1879, N. Minnimer, W. D. Ingram; 1880, William B. McWilliams, W. S. Love; 1881, W. S. Love, Thomas McWilliams, George Kryder.
A number of roads were located soon after the township was organized, and the highways then opened have retained their essential features until the present. In 1810 the road from Coleraine to the mouth of Spruce Creek was laid out, running over the hills. Before this time the principal road out of the valley was from Marshall's mill to the " Hook," thence over a spur of Tussey Mountain down the narrows to the Little Juniata and the Shaver's Creek Valley. Later the main road from Coleraine was located along the creek, and a turnpike built through the valley, which is yet maintained.
1835, James Dysart; 1836, Jonathan McWilliams; 1837, James McPherran; 1838, William Murray, John Ingram; 1839, William H. Beck; 1840, James Ewing; 1841, William Hunt; 1812, Thompson Burdige; 1843, James Dysart; 1844, William Riley; 1845, Hays Hamilton; 1846, Richard Jones; 1847, C. Wigton; 1848, John Q. Adams; 1849, William B. Johnston; 1850, James Travis; 1851, Samuel Wigton, William Riley; 1852, John Q. Adams; 1853, James Oliver; 1854, James Morrow : 1855, Moses Miller; 1856, John Zentmeyer; 1857, Adam Keith; 1858, John Q. Adams; 1859, Samuel Wigton; 1860, Samuel Thompson; 1861, Alfred Porter, William B. Johnston; 1862, A. G. Ewing; 1863, George W. Mattern; 1864, John W. Mattern; 1865, A. G. Ewing; 1866, Samuel Wigton; 1867, .G. W. Mattern; 1868, A. G. Ewing; 1869, George W. Mattern; 1870-71, J. Q. Adams; 1872, R. Ingram; 1873, K B. Isett; 1874, John Laporte; 1875, Samuel Wigton; 1876, D. M. Thompson; 1877, W. B. Johnston; 1878, D. M. Miller; 1879, John B. Isett; 1880, John B. Thompson; 1881, John Q. Adams.
General Manufacturing and Business Interests. - One of the first powers improved was at the mouth of Spruce Creek, and was made to operate the Bebault mill, built around 1775, and being of the same type as the Minor mill, described in the history of Porter township. It was here that Levi Hicks, the miller, was massacred by Indians, May 12, 1778. Next the mill property became widely known as belonging to Abraham Sells, who had also a distillery and public-house. Jacob Beigle was the next owner, and improved the Bebault mill. The property passing into the hands of John S. Isett, in 1828 he built the mill which is a present in operation there. It is a four-story frame, fifty by sixty feet, and is supplied with four runs of stones. The motor is a fourteen foot overshot-wheel, and the power has also operated a plaster-mill since 1870. The mills have been the property of Edward B. Isett since 1864. In 1836, John S. Isett built a bloom forge of two fires opposite the mill, which was kept in operation pretty generally until 1861. It was called "Stockdale" from the family name of tile proprietor's mother, and this title was applied to all the manufacturing interests on Spruce Creek at this point and to that part of the village lying in Franklin, but which is now embraced in the village of Spruce Creek. In 1868 the forge was displaced by a foundry and machine-shop, which was operated a number of years. In 1875 additions were made to the building and the whole converted into the Stockdale Woolen-Factory, by John B. and William D. Isett, and the water-power supplemented by steam. The factory contained one set of machinery and was operated chiefly on jeans, but after a few years was discontinued. The building yet remains, but most of the equipments have been removed, Stockdale's manufacturing interests being limited to the grinding-mills before named.
The building of Huntingdon Furnace was the beginning of the most important era in the industrial history of Franklin township. In 1792, George Anshutz, a native of Alsace, France, erected the first blast-furnace in the neighborhood of Pittsburgh, which was abandoned after two years' operation, on account of the mistake made in locating it there, being too remote from the ore-mines. Returning to the East, Mr. Anshutz had his attention directed to the rich ore-fields of Franklin, and was not slow to see that water-power, wood for charcoal, and all the elements for carrying on a successful business were close at hand. He at once conceived the idea that there a blast-furnace could be easily maintained which might be made the nucleus of an immense iron trade. Filled with this idea he succeeded in enlisting in his enterprise Mordecai Massey, afterwards, Judge John Gloninger, of Lebanon, and Martin Dobbs, of Philadelphia, who formed themselves into the firm of John Gloninger & Co., for the purpose of establishing a charcoal blast-furnace, and carrying on mining at some point in Northwestern Huntingdon County. Although some of the partners had ample means, their faith in the enterprise does not seem to have been very strong, so that the beginning was made on a very small scale. Fifteen acres of land were purchased near the present Warrior's Mark line in 1796, upon which was built a small furnace, and one horse and a yoke of cattle were provided as a working outfit. George Anshutz was a practical ironmaster, and he managed the business with so much care and thrift that from the first it became profitable. The proceeds were invested in the purchase of mineral lands, so that in 1819 the company owned a tract of forty thousand acres, besides having several new furnaces and the celebrated Tyrone Iron-Works, which consisted of forges, rolling- and slitting-mills, and a nail-factory. Besides these there were grist- and sawmills, stores, and well-tilled farms in such numbers that the company ranked as one of the richest in the State before a score of years had passed around. Meantime it was found that the water-power of the "old seat" was not sufficient to work the furnace up to the capacity required, and a "new seat" was found about two miles further down Warrior's Mark Run, at Armitage's mill, where a furnace of large capacity was erected about 1805. This locality is yet known as Huntingdon Furnace, and is one of the most beautiful furnace seats in the country. The Armitage mill, which this interest displaced, was one of the oldest in the township. It was built by Caleb Armitage before Franklin became a separate organization. The company maintained its mill at the "old seat" a number of years, but erected, in due time, a good mill near the new furnace which is yet in operation. The furnace has also been rebuilt, and when last in blast produced forty-five tons of excellent iron per week. About 1835 all the partners except Shoenberger sold their interests in Huntingdon County to the firm of Short, Stewart & Co., rival iron manufacturers and proprietors of the Pennsylvania Furnace. Under this arrangement one of the new owners, John Lyon, took up his residence at Huntingdon Furnace, and other partners lived at the different iron-works controlled by the company, which now carried on its business on a scale never before attained. In the course of a few years a division of property was made, whereby Peter Shoenberger became the owner of Huntingdon Furnace and a large tract of land adjoining, rich in mineral wealth or affording good farms. This in time passed into the hands of the present owners, George and John H. Shoenberger. Since the depression of the charcoal-iron trade the furnace has been out of blast, but the dozen or more farms connected with the property are kept in a high state of cultivation. Among the managers connected with the furnace property have been John Maguire, Hays Hamilton, James Shultz, and the present George D. Blair.
The first forge in the township was built by Phineas Massey about 1798, and in 1800 became the property of John Gloninger & Co. It was on Spruce Creek, above Franklinville. In 1826 the forge was rebuilt by James Russell & Co., and was last carried on by Christopher Wigton, and was discontinued many years ago.
On the creek above this power John Gloninger & Co. built a forge about 1830, which received the name of "Elizabeth." After the lapse of years Martin Gates became the owner, and on the 14th of July, 1849, was drowned in the head-waters of his dam. After being carried on some time by his heirs, the forge was discontinued about 1853. Below Franklinville was a forge, built about 1810 by William Patton and Edward B. Roach, which received the name of "Upper Sligo." Three years later he built another forge below that point which received the name of "Lower Sligo." About the same time Samuel Marshall built a forge in the same locality, already having a mill in operation there. In 1814 the two Sligo forges were sold to Edward B. Patton and David R. Porter, who failed in 1819 on account of the depression in the iron trade, and the forges were for a time inoperative. Prior to that time, about 1811, William McDermitt, a Scotchman, came to the Spruce Creek and established the pioneer steel-works in America at the head of the Upper Sligo dam, just below the month of Warrior's Mark Run. The works were called "Millington" on account of the excellent reputation of the steel made at Millington in Europe. Various articles of steel were made, such as shovels, scythes, etc., the goods having a fine reputation. Soon after the War of 1812 the works were discontinued and the power used to operate a forge of two fires called "Clabunk." This forge was owned, after the McDermitts, by Gilbert Lloyd, Samuel Steel, William Hopkins, William Beigle, and lastly became a part of the Coleraine property. In 1820, David R. Porter married a daughter of William McDermitt, and removed from the township about that time to the borough of Huntingdon. His subsequent career as a public man and Governor of the State is a matter of general history. The Sligo Forges became the property of David McMurtrie about 1820, and later of John Lyon and Robert T. Stewart, who also purchased the Marshall's Mills forge and property, consolidating them under the name of "Coleraine Forges," which name has been retained to the present. In 1828, Lyon & Stewart sold the Coleraine property to Joseph and James Barnett and Anthony Shorb, of the Pennsylvania Furnace, and associated David Stewart with them under the firm-name of Shorb, Stewart & Co., Mr. Stewart being for many years the manager. The forges were operated on blooms, of which the product from Feb. 28, 1828, till Feb. 28, 1860, was twenty-nine thousand six hundred and sixty-one tons. Up to the last-named period there were three forges at Coleraine, but that year the present large forge was built, which was kept in operation until Dec. 4, 1874, being last managed by Thomas S. Lyon. Its capacity is twelve hundred tons of blooms per year, and twenty-five men were employed in carrying it on. The grist-mill connected with the property on Warrior's Mark Run was built in 1868 on the site of one destroyed by fire, and which had been built by Shorb, Stewart & Go. The property is managed by D. M. Thompson for the owners, the Misses Stewart. At Coleraine Forges a store has been almost continuously maintained, and when the foregoing interests were carried on it was one of the busiest places in the county.
Farther down the creek Robert Moore built a forge about 1830, which he called "Elizabeth No. 2." This he sold to Samuel Caldwell, and he to Samuel Isett, when it was operated some time by Hileman & Hammond. Subsequently G. & J. H. Shoenberger became the proprietors. At a yet later period John Q. Adams became the owner, making blooms about ten years. In 1873 he employed the power to operate the machinery of an axe-factory, producing three hundred dozen per year. The capacity has since been greatly increased, and the manufacture of the "Forest King," "W. Park," and other favorite brands is extensively carried on. Ten men are employed. Immediately below Adams' axe-factory, Lingle & Harvey established a foundry, which bad a number of owners, and was the property of Israel C. Caldwell when it was destroyed by fire about 1876. It was devoted to the manufacture of plows, farm machinery, and heavy castings.
At Franklinville the water-power was first improved by Samuel Mattern, who also built most of the houses in the hamlet. The first building was a small stone house for a hat-shop, in which he carried on the hatter's trade a number of years. The water-power was first used to operate carding machinery, and later a fulling-mill and machinery for making woolen goods were added. The factory has been kept in operation many years; Matthew D. Keatley succeeding Mr. Mattern, and Zachariah and Edward Keatley being the present owners. The products are satinets, blankets, and flannels.
In the hamlet, John M. Mattern, John Conrad, Matthew D. Keatley, and others formerly merchandised. Since 1866, Alexander G. Ewing has been in trade, also being postmaster of the Franklinville office. This office was established more recently than the Coleraine Forges office. The latter was first known by the name of Marshall's Mills, Samuel Marshall postmaster, and was the first in the lower part of the valley. In 1830, Joseph Barnett was the postmaster of the office, which now bore the name of Coleraine Forges, by which it is yet known. The present postmaster is D. M. Thompson. Intermediate officials have been David Stewart and John C. Stevenson. The hamlet of Franklinville contains besides a dozen houses, a Methodist Church, and a public hall. Above this place is a water-power, which was improved by Charles Montgomery in the early history of the township, and has been made to operate a saw-mill almost continuously since. The proprietor in 1881 was William B. Johnston.
On Spruce Creek, several miles from the Centre County line, is the small hamlet of Graysville, so called for John Gray, an early settler at that place, whose family removed at his death. John Fowler, another early settler, lived at the mouth of the brook which still bears his name. His farm is now owned by James Oliver. Alexander Ewing built the gristmill which is still in operation at this point about 1788. Internally it has been somewhat changed, but in the main it remains as built nearly a hundred years ago. It has had numerous owners, and in 1881 was the property of Isaac Woomer. Stores have been kept at the hamlet by a number of parties, among them being John Ewing, Martin Gates, H. A. Bathurst, and the present Johnson Archer. Small public-houses were also maintained by John Gray, Samuel Jacobs, and others, and the foregoing usually served as postmasters of the Graysville office, of which Mary Archy was the postmistress in 1881. A daily mail is supplied by the stage line from Spruce Creek to Centre Hall.
Three-quarters of a mile above Graysville was a fulling-mill, in 1800. Among its owners were Stephen Davis and William Curry. While owned by William S. and James W. Curry it was destroyed by fire. Yet farther above, on the Centre County line, are the interests connected with the Pennsylvania Furnace, the hamlet extending into Centre County, and being but a short distance from Baileyville, in that county: a furnace, gristmill, store, the mansion of the resident partner of the furnace company, George W. Lyon. The post-office is Graysville. [A post-office called Pennsylvania Furnace has since been established.] One of the first physicians in this locality was Dr. Hugh Montgomery. Dr. Lemuel Kenslow was a subsequent practitioner. Dr. John McDonald was the resident physician at Baileyville for twenty years. Dr. T. C. Van Tries, the present physician, was born in Bedford in 1840. In 1865 he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and then established himself in practice at Pennsylvania Furnace, his residence being, at Baileyville.
It is to be regretted that a sketch of the Pennsylvania Furnace, promised for this work, was not received by the publisher.
Prominently connected with the business interests of this locality was Jacob Isett. He was born of German Lutheran parents in Bucks County, Pa., Feb.16, 1760. In 1787 he came to Sinking Valley, and at the Lead-Mine Fort worked at his trade of shoemaking. There was no money to be had for work, and he took his pay in wheat at fifty cents per bushel. It advanced in price, and he sold the two hundred bushels he had accumulated at one dollar and fifty cents per bushel, which was his start in life. He then bought the Arch Spring property, and in 1789 built a saw- and grist-mill. The gristmill had but one run of stones, which were obtained in the neighboring mountains while the bolter was turned by hand and by those who wished their flour bolted. He afterwards bought what is known now as the Union Furnace power, intending to build a merchant and grist-mill. In 1798, Mr. Isett built on the Little Juniata River the foundation for a dam, dug part of a headrace, put in head-gates, all of which were washed away by a flood the next spring. He then sent his millwright to the Arch Spring Mill, who reported that power could be obtained to drive a fourteen-foot overshot-wheel, and the following spring (1799) he built a stone gristmill which was forty by forty-five feet and three stories high, and was for that time a very large mill.
In 1795, Mr. Isett married Miss Eleanor Stockdale, who was born of Protestant parents, in County Down, Ireland. Her father emigrated to America, and settled in Baltimore, where he died two years after, leaving his family in very straitened circumstances. Her mother married again, and the family then came to Canoe Valley, in Huntingdon County, Pa. To them were born seven children, of whom John S. Isett was born Oct. 14, 1799. He had done but little, except going to school, until his return from Alexandria in April,1814, where he had been attending school a couple of years. He there had obtained a good education for that day, and his father gave him his choice, either to go to Carlisle College or take his axe and go into the clearing. He chose the latter, as he was tired of study. The next fall he went into the store of Cyrus Cartwright was a clerk, where he remained a few months, then went home, and in his father's mill learned the miller's trade. In 1817 he took charge of the mill, receiving the same share of the profits as other millers did. When he had accumulated four hundred dollars he determined to go to St. Louis, where he expected to at once become rich. His father consented to his going, telling him that when his money was gone to come back, if he wished to do so. In company with John Wray, he bought in Pittsburgh a skiff, in which they went to Cincinnati, thence in a raft to Louisville, and then by steamboat to Shawneetown, from there on foot by the way of Kaskaskia to St. Louis. Not finding employment to suit him he went to Carlisle, Mo., where he met Dr. J. H. Lambert and family, with whom he visited a short time, then went into partnership with the doctor in a small store. He was soon taken sick, and on his recovery found the business in such condition that he was glad to accept the doctor's offer to take his money back and work on a salary. He got the work, but owing to the failure of the doctor, never got his money, and he returned to his home a sadder but wiser young man than when he left it. For more than a year he worked on the farm after his St. Louis trip, then went into the mill again. In 1824 his father built a new mill (the one now at Arch Spring), which he managed, as well as a store owned by him and his brother-in-law.
On the 19th day of July, 1825, Mr. Isett was joined in marriage with Miss Mary Ann Bell, daughter of Edward Bell, of Antis township, Blair Co. To Mr. and Mrs. Isett there have been born eight sons and four daughters, of whom three sons and four daughters are still living. In 1826 his father (Jacob Isett) bought of ex-Governor Heister the Spruce Creek property, and in October, 1827, the family moved to the new purchase, which has since remained their home. In 1828 the present mill at Spruce Creek was built by Mr. John S. Isett, which he managed in connection with the mercantile business. In 1831 he built his present residence, intending it for a tavern, but changed his mind and occupied it as a dwelling-house. During this time he was also running the farms owned by him, and was prosperous in all his business matters. In 1836 he built a small bloom forge with one hammer and two refining fires, which he carried on until 1861. In January, 1839, he was appointed by the Hon. Thomas Burnside, president judge of the Huntingdon court, sequestrator of the Huntingdon, Cambria and Indiana Turnpike Company, which pike extended from Huntingdon borough to Blairsville, in Indiana County, Pa., and for twenty-six years he had charge and control of the road.
In 1844, Mr. Isett, with his son Jacob H., made an extended trip to the Hot Springs, Ark.; thence, by wagon, through Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa, and in the following year, with his son Edward B., went to Missouri and purchased a tract of land, on which he intended to move the next spring and raise stock; but the season was sickly, and he did not deem it advisable to move his family thereon. His father died in 1852; his mother in 1827. In his religious views Mr. Isett is liberal; in his political views Democratic. He now resides at the old home in Spruce Creek, surrounded by sons and daughters, who ever stand ready, so far as in their power, to make smooth his pathway through the declining years of a long and well-spent life.
Education and Religious. - The pioneer religious history of Spruce Creek Valley is the same as that of Warrior's Mark township. For a number of years the settlers of this part of the county maintained a common place of worship in a locality which is now known as Dry Hollow, but where were two springs of good water, the only ones in all that region. That fact and the further one that it was a central point for the Presbyterians living the half-dozen valleys round about caused them to build a small log meeting-house there, probably about 1790, in which worship was statedly held a number of years. Prior to this evangelists visited the people, preaching at the houses of the members, and in the summer season in the woods, near some spring where the people might refresh themselves during the noon intermission. The Rev. Matthew Stephens preached as early as the fourth Sabbath in June, 1786, and was probably the first Presbyterian minister to venture west of Tussey Mountain. The next preacher of whom any account has been preserved was the Rev. Samuel Wilson, a licentiate, who held a meeting on the first Sabbath of August, 1786. Following him was the Rev. Mr. Caldwell, a "probationer" from Ireland. The Rev. James Martin assumed pastoral relations about 1789, and remained until his death, which occurred June 20, 1795. His salary was fixed at sixty-five pounds specie "to relieve him from worldly concern." He was an able man and a popular minister, and it was while he labored among the people that the Dry Hollow meeting-house was built. His successors in the pastoral office were supplies sent by the Presbytery of Huntingdon, among the number being the Revs. Wiley, Johnston, and Bard.
In 1797, Thomas Wilson, who seems to have been an elder, besought the Presbytery for preaching supplies, and Mr. Stephens again visited the people of Warrior's Mark and Franklin, who, although regarded as a congregation, do not appear to have been regularly organized, being united probably only by a common purpose to maintain preaching. But about this time the congregation of Spruce Creek was formed, and from this period, 1798, we may properly date the history of
Spruce Creek Presbyterian Church. - The congregation absorbed the chief element of the worshipers at the Dry Hollow meeting-house, and joined the congregation of Sinking Valley in calling a pastor, providing a new house of worship in the Spruce Creek Valley. The old meeting-house was abandoned, and not long afterwards was burned by a forest fire. The church building was in what is known as the cemetery lot at Graysville, and was built of logs, about thirty feet square. It had galleries on the two sides and one opposite the high pulpit, being for that day quite a spacious building. It was not finished before 1805, and when it was first occupied had no seats, the congregation sitting on the sleepers. Then came board seats without backs.
On the 20th of November, 1798, Rev. Samuel Bryson was ordained the first pastor of the united congregations, the ceremony taking place at the house of Robert McCartney, on lower Spruce Creek. He served in that relation until 1803, and was followed by the Revs. James Linn, William Stewart, and John Hutchinson as supplies. Rev. William A. Boyd, a native of Lancaster, became the next pastor of the two congregations April 2, 1817. He was married to a daughter of Henry McWilliams, and his home was on the farm now owned by Judge Laporte, in Franklin. Resigning on account of ill health, he died May 11, 1823.
From 1825 till 1843 the Rev. Samuel Hill served as pastor, following the Rev. John McIlhenny, who had supplied the congregations a short time. Mr. Hill preached long sermons and impressed his individuality upon his hearers. He paid much attention to catechetical instruction, and was an outspoken temperance man. Some of his hearers had not yet been educated to accept the radical views of Mr. Hill, and frequently manifested a hostile disposition towards him and those who fully accepted his views. To show their disrespect for him, some one entered the church and chopped to pieces the pulpit and cut into shreds the Bible. He was the exclusive pastor of Spruce Creek from 1836 until he resigned.
On the 3d of September, 1845, Rev. John White became the pastor, and during his connection with the church, which was terminated two years later, a division arose about psalmody, which gave rise to the First and Second Churches of Spruce Creek, both congregations using the same house of worship. This was a frame building which had displaced the old log church in 1830. In the course of years the first congregation built the present house of worship below Graysville, which was dedicated March 26, 1858. It is a stately-looking edifice of blue limestone, forty-five by seventy-six feet, neatly finished, heated from the basement, and is one of the most complete country churches in the county. It was built in the pastorate of the Rev. John Elliott, and cost about six thousand dollars. The Second Church meantime occupied the frame meeting-house, each congregation calling its own minister. The pastor of the First Church was the Rev. David L. Hughes, who was installed June 13, 1848, and was relieved October, 1857. The Second Church, which accepted Rouse's version of the Psalms, called the Rev. Israel W. Ward in 1849, and he was the pastor until June, 1853. His successor was the Rev. Thomas Stevenson, who was installed in the spring of 1854, and resigned in April, 1859. In May. 1859, the two churches reunited and became one congregation, under the pastoral care of the Rev. John Elliott, who bad been called by the First Church two years before. The old frame meeting-house, which the Second Church had used until this period, was taken down and removed to Rock Springs, where it was used for the afternoon meetings of members residing in that part of the valley until 1873, when it was sold to private parties. The same year the chapel at Pennsylvania Furnace was built, and the appointment at Rock Springs transferred to that place. The parsonage at Pennsylvania Furnace, a large and comfortable residence, was built in 1850, and the Coleraine Chapel the same year. The congregation yet maintains these three places of worship, and in 1881 the church property was controlled by Trustees John Bailey, John Goheen, Robert Gardner, George W. Reynolds, Thomas Davis, Andrew Oliver, and John M. Wigton.
The pastors of the united congregations have been the Rev. John Elliott till 1861; the Rev. William Alexander, stated supply, in 1861; the Rev. Oscar A. Hill, D.D., 1862-65; the Rev. S. T. Owes, Ph.D., 1866-69; and the Rev. J. C. Kelley since 1870. From a historical sermon of the latter this sketch has been prepared. The congregation in 1881 had about two hundred members.
Among the elders of Spruce Creek Church have been Joseph McPherson, Alexander Stewart, William Cooper, Henry McWilliams, John Nichol, Robert McCartney, Charles Montgomery, Robert Gardner, William McWilliams, Samuel Cooper, John Bailey, Jonathan McWilliams, Gardner Thompson, William Rankin, John Stalkin, John McCurdy, Charles Montgomery, Jr., Christopher Wigton, William Riley, and John Gardner. The elders in 1881 were William B. McWilliams, G. W. Reynolds, Dr. T. C. Van Tries, Samuel Wigton, William B. Johnston, and D. M. Thompson.
In 1828 the first Sabbath-school maintained by the church was organized at Baileyville. George W. Reynolds was many years the superintendent of the Graysville school, John Porter being the superintendent in 1881, and the Coleraine school was in charge of A. G. Ewing.
Spruce Creek Lutheran Church. - The members of this church first worshiped in the old Dry Hollow meeting-house, among the number being George Mattern, George Anshutz, the Ginters, the Mentzers, Martin Funk, Adam Mong, Samuel Rider, John Black, Moses Garland, Thomas Saylor, and Daniel Conrad, a number of the latter being workmen at Huntingdon Furnace. In 1805 a log meeting-house was built on a lot of ground donated by George Mattern, a part of which was set aside for cemetery purposes. In about 1847 the present church edifice was erected, a frame standing on the lot of the old church and being thirty by forty feet. The building committee was composed of George W. Mattern, Frederick Crissman, and M. R. Jones. The house, though plain, affords a comfortable place of worship. In 1881 the congregation consisted of fifty members and a church council which had George W. Mattern and Joseph Kinch as elders, John Kinch and David Sherman deacons. The pastor was the Rev. Robert Fletcher. His immediate predecessor was the Rev. George Straup. Other ministerial service was from Water Street and Sinking Valley. Joseph Kinch is the superintendent of a flourishing Sunday-school maintained by this church, and former superintendents were William Stiver and Christian Musser.
The Franklinville Methodist Episcopal Church. - Among the pioneer Methodists in the neighborhood of Franklinville were George Mattern, Jr., and his wife Catharine, and the Stonebraker family. Preaching was held at the house of the former as early as 1803, and in the old stone mill at Huntingdon Furnace at a later date; but about 1830 a meeting-house - a frame plastered on the outside - was built on the old road above Franklinville, which was the place of worship a number of years. After the turnpike was built the building was taken down and removed to Franklinville, where, in a remodeled condition, it now is. The trustees in 1881 were D. R. Miller, D. B. Parks, Joshua Cornelius, Nicholas Parks, and Henry Omo. The congregation forms a part of Warrior's Mark Circuit, and has had its ministerial supply from that source. The first Sunday-school in this part of the valley was opened in the old stone mill at Huntingdon Furnace about 1821 by Samuel Mattern, Samuel Conrad, Ephraim Galbraith, and Jeremiah Cunningham. It was maintained regardless of a church connection, and having a large attendance from that part of the township exerted a great moral influence upon the young people. The Franklinville Sunday-school had an attendance of fifty-four scholars in 1881, and was superintended by D. R. Miller.
Lower Spruce Creek Presbyterian Church. - In the winter of 1871 a revival of great power was held in the Union Church at Spruce Creek, under the preaching of Rev. J. J. Coate, from Baltimore. In consequence of this visitation of divine grace, a desire was expressed to form the converts into a church organization of Presbyterian persuasion. The Presbytery being petitioned to this end and the request being granted, at the session held at Bellefonte in April, 1871, the Revs. R. M. Wallace and J. J. Coale and Elder Samuel McCamant were appointed a committee to effect the organization. They performed this work on Saturday, April 9, 1871, when fifty-one persons were enrolled as members of the Lower Spruce Creek Church. Dr. Sidney Thompson, Samuel C. Tussey, and Osborne Laird were chosen ruling elders. The former two still serve, but Mr. Laird died March 14, 1874. Angus McBean and Robert McPherran were elected deacons. At the same time the Rev. J. J. Coale became the pastor and yet serves the congregation, in connection with the Sinking Valley Church. The meeting-house which the congregation occupies is at Spruce Creek, on the Franklin side. It was built in 1871 on a lot of ground donated by Edward B. Isett, who, together with G. W. Stewart and J. Q. Adams, composed the board of trustees in 1881. The house is an attractive brick, costing six thousand dollars, and was built by Jacob Baker, of Alexandria, who was run over by the cars at Spruce Creek and killed before the house was completed. Lower Spruce Creek congregation had ninety-one members in 1881, and maintained a Sunday-school of sixty members, which had Dr. Sidney Thompson as superintendent.
No very authentic account of the early schools of Franklin can be given in this sketch of the township history. The records have not been preserved, and tradition is too vague to be trustworthy. Early schools were maintained at Huntingdon Furnace, Graysville, and at the Lutheran Church. Under the free-school system the following were elected as directors:
1835, Christopher Wigton, James Travis; 1836, Jonathan McWilliams, Alexander Stewart; 1837, John McCurdy, John Stonebraker; 1838, John S. Isett, Thompson Burge, John Sissler; 1839, Hugh Seeds; 1840, John Ingram, Robert Bell, John D. Bell; 1841, Daniel Hileman, John Laporte; 1842, John Zentmeyer, John S. Isett, Samuel Jones; 1843, John Conrad, Nicholas Parks; 1844, James Dysart, A. J. Wigton, William Riley; 1845, Anderson Harvey, James Ewing; 1846, John D. Bell, J. H. Stonebraker; 1817, William McIlvain, Joseph Dysart; 1848, David Kinch, John Laporte; 1849, James Harvey, Benjamin Hopkins; 1850, William Riley, James Dysart; 1851, Calvin J. Smith, James Ewing; 1852, John Ingram, David Conrad; 1853, Henry L. Harvey, Joseph Dysart; 1854, Washington Reynolds, John Zentmeyer; 1855, George W. Mattern, J. W. Matten, John Keimer; 1856, John Steiner, John Hughes; 1857, John Zentmeyer, G. M. Thompson; 1858, Samuel Wigton, John Clark; 1859, John Keimer, William B. McWilliams, John A. Mattern; 1860, William B. Johnston, John W. Slattern; 1861, John Ebberts, John Clark, Joseph Kinch; 1862, John Ebberts, William McWilliams; 1863, William B. Johnston, J. W. Mattern; 1864, Jamuel [sic] C. Stewart, Nicholas Parks; 1865, James Oliver, John Ebberts; 1866, Daniel Conrad, Daniel Clark, Alfred Porter; 1867, A. G. Ewing, Samuel Wigton; 1868, G. W. Reynolds, Robert McPherran; 1869, Daniel Conrad, Robert Henderson; 1870-71, John Ebberts, D. L. Wray; 1872, D. R. Miller, R. Henderson, William Wray; 1873, John Hughes, M. G. Keatley; 1874, John Travis, Henry Hoffman; 1875, David Henderson, A. S. Weakland; 1876, J. Woomer, S. Spangler, W. B. McMillan; 1877, John Archy, Isaac Woomer; 1878, George Shultz, R. L. Henderson; 1879, David Goss, Thomas Davis; 1880, Henry Kinch, Isaac L. Woomer; 1881, George Shultz, William Stiver.
In 1880 there were eight districts in the township, in which school was maintained six months. The male attendants numbered 136; the female, 123. The average attendance was 203. The cost of instruction was eighty-three cents per pupil per month. The sum of $1542.40 was raised for building purposes.
Copyright © 1996-2011, All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 1996-2004 Ken Boonie & contributors
Copyright © 2005-2010 Judy Banja & contributors
Copyright © 2011 Josie Baughman & contributors