History of Huntingdon and Blair Counties, Pennsylvania by J. Simpson Africa Philadelphia, PA: Louis H. Everts, 1883, pp. 320-328. Contributed by Mike Gifford & Ken Boonie. Revised and proofread by Judy Banja.
THE township of Morris is one of the smallest subdivisions of the county. It is located south of the Little Juniata River, and between Canoe and Tussey Mountains, embracing the lower part of Canoe Valley, having on the south the township of Catharine. The valley itself is of the nature of a plateau, being elevated and resting on a limestone base. The sides of the mountains are too rugged to admit of cultivation, and in many localities are outcroppings of stone. In other parts the soil is fertile, and under skillful cultivation yields bountifully. The drainage is afforded chiefly by the Little Juniata and the Frankstown Branch. The latter stream, after washing the western base of Tussey Mountain and flowing to within two miles of the former in its northward course; forces its way through the mountain and flows eastward. This break or pass through the mountain is about a mile in length, and when the country was first settled was so confined that no wagons could pass through, and horsemen only with difficulty, on account of the rude mass of stones which encroached from the mountain on each side. The rocks were loosely piled up, and so arranged that they threatened destruction to those passing below. Nevertheless, it afforded a comparatively easy way through the mountains by traveling along the beach of the river. From that circumstance the locality was called "Water Street," a name which it has borne more than a century. It was mentioned by Conrad Weiser in 1748, and John Harris also speaks of it in his "log-book" in 1754. As the country settled up this natural route was somewhat improved, and later a fine turnpike and a canal were built through the gap. The latter was abandoned in 1875. In the early part of the Revolution Gen. Roberdeau had a landing on the river at the western end of Water Street, where he loaded his canoes with lead for the lower countries, and brought up supplies for his troops. Near the northern extremity of this mountain, which is sometimes called "Short" (the distance between the two rivers being only about two miles), is a tunnel on the Pennsylvania Railroad, which was commenced in July, 1848, and completed about two years later. It is eleven hundred feet long, and is in the midst of a very picturesque region. About a mile above is the village and station of Spruce Creek, the former being cosily situated on both sides of the Little Juniata, in Morris and Franklin townships.
At Water Street a large spring of pure water bursts from the hillside, which is by many supposed to be an outlet of a subterranean stream, possibly of Sinking Run, in Tyrone township. Near by were made some of the earliest improvements by the whites.
Pioneer Settlers. - At this point Edward Beatty owned a tract of more than three hundred acres of land, including the above spring, over which he built a small but very substantial stone house before the Revolution, which was occupied by him and his family during those troublous times. Beatty himself was a very vigorous man, and had eight sons, whose feats of strength and powers of endurance were known through all the country. They were brave and resolute, and had never learned to fear the wily and treacherous red men who delighted to roam through these valleys. These "flowers of the forest" refused to fort with the other white settlers, preferring to protect themselves from the savages. Edward Beatty made a will on the 4th of May, 1796, in which his property was devised to his sons, Richard, Martin, Robert, William, Edward, Patrick, Thomas, and John, who sold their interests to John. The latter subsequently conveyed a part of the land, bordering on that of James McCune's, to Edward Beatty, who sold it and all the improvements to John Shaffer in 1803 for eight hundred pounds lawful money. On this part is now the hamlet of Shaffersville. The lower part of the Beatty tract became the property of Robert Province, who had there a pioneer inn and a distillery. In 1810 he disposed of his interests to Lewis Mytinger, the founder of the hamlet of Water Street. The elder Beattys died in Morris, and were buried at Shaffersville. A number of the sons removed to Tennessee and Kentucky. James McCune and the Province family also removed early. Contemporaneous with the foregoing were the Deans, Lowrys, Simontons, and others. These settlers built a fort on the farm of Robert Lowry, on the south side of Fox Run, some time in 1778, which was intended to protect them from Indian incursions. The fort was placed in command of a Capt. Simonton, who lived on the Enoch Isenberg place on the river road, and who was one of the nearest neighbors of Matthew Dean, who resided on the present Thomas Cunning place. At this time Dean was regarded as one of the most popular and influential men of the valley, but unfortunately there was some animosity between him and Mr. Lowry, which had embittered him to such an extent that be vowed that he would not avail himself of the protection of Lowry's fort, which was but a short distance from his farm. Although there were several alarms, no mischief was done by the Indians until the fall of 1780. One Sabbath evening that year Capt. Simonton, his wife, and a young son visited Mr. Dean, when the probability of Indian outrages was discussed. The captain told his neighbor that it was reported that Indians were about, and that he should forego his vows and take his family, which consisted of more than half a dozen children, to the fort at Lowry's. To this Mr. Dean did not yield his consent, to the loss of his wife and several children, as we shall see. When Capt. Simonton arose to return home his little boy begged to be permitted to stay at Mr. Dean's, and as Mrs. Simonton had promised to visit Mrs. Dean on the following day to perform some friendly office for her, when he could return with her, he was allowed to remain. The next morning Mr. Dean took two boys and two girls into the cornfield to sow some rye, the boys managing the cultivator, the girls hoeing around the hills of corn where the plow could not be brought to bear. After Mr. Dean had sowed the rye he went into the adjoining woods to shoot some wild pigeons. Seeing a dense smoke issuing from his house he got his children and started home, on the way meeting Mrs. Simonton, who was going to his house. The sad truth soon burst upon them. The Indians had massacred Mrs. Dean and the children he had left at home and then set fire to the house.
A little girl was found scalped in the yard, and the charred remains of Mrs. Dean and three children were taken from the ruins of the house, but no trace of the Simonton boy could anywhere be found, although a strong party, headed by the Beattys, had started in pursuit of the Indians as soon as they had heard of the outrage. That day Capt. Simonton went to Minot's mill (where Barree Iron-Works now are), and on his way home heard the sad news at Water Street. He rode with all possible speed to Dean's, and got there just as they had recovered the murdered woman and children from the ashes, and as his boy could nowhere be found he was forced to believe that he had been taken captive. As the captain was a man of means, it was conjectured that the boy had been taken for the purpose of extorting a ransom from his father. In this they were not mistaken. Simonton offered a reward of one hundred pounds for his recovery, and attended treaties at Chillicothe and in the Miami Valley, hoping that the Indians would bring some one in who would prove to be his lost boy. But of all the captives none resembled him, nor did the most diligent search in many places reveal the least trace of his captive son, who was reluctantly given up as hopelessly lost. In the war of 1812 three of Capt. Simonton's sons were enlisted in Capt. Moses Canan's company, which happened to be among the Seneca Indians of Cattaraugus County, N.Y., in its period of service. Some of the men in the American army saw a white man among the Indians, married to a squaw, who had horses, cattle, and lived in a good house. They asked him what his name was, and he told them John Sims. "Are you from the Juniata?" "I think I am," he said. Upon being asked whether he would like to see his brothers who were with the soldiers, he said he would, and burst into tears, leaving little doubt that he was the lost Simonton boy. While he was talking his squaw came, and in a sullen manner took him away, so that nothing more was seen of him while the troops were there, and of his subsequent fate nothing was known. [Compiled from Jones' Juniata Valley.] Capt. Simonton died before the men returned from the war. One of the Dean girls, who was with her father at the time of the massacre, married into the Caldwell family, and the other Hugh Means. The sons became the heads of large families, removing from the township at an early day. John Dean, a brother of Matthew, lived lower down the valley, on what is now known as the Tippery place, above the "bottomless cave." He also was a prominent man, taking an active interest in public matters and religious interests, being one of the early elders of the old Hart's Log Church. He was the father of sons named Robert and Samuel, both of whom removed, and of a daughter married to William Love, who was an inn-keeper at Water Street. Farther up on the mountain-side lived John Bell, a weaver, and father of Edward Bell, a pioneer millwright. The latter was the father of James M. Bell, of Hollidaysburg, and John Bell, of Bell's Mills, in Blair County. The family early removed to Tuckahoe Valley, where a more extended account is given. Michael Law afterwards lived on the Bell place. Hugh Means, a native of Delaware, received a patent in 1769 for a tract on Shaver's Creek, located in 1763, called Aughendarraugh. After living there a few years he purchased a large tract of land in Morris, a part of which is now known as the Tussey farm, on which he died. He was married to a daughter of Matthew Dean, and reared three daughters, who married David Tussey, of Morris; Thomas M. Owens, of Warrior's Mark; and Evan Crane, of Franklin.
John Tussey came into Hart's Log Valley before the Revolution and settled near Alexandria, now in Huntingdon County. He married and led the life of a farmer. They had three children, viz.: David, John B., and Mary. David was born near Alexandria in 1783, and passed his boyhood days with his uncle, Hugh Bowers. When twenty-one years of age he migrated to Canoe Valley, where he worked at whatever he could get to do until his marriage to Miss Elizabeth Means, daughter of Hughey and Margaret (Dean) Means. The Deans were one of the oldest families in the county, and suffered loss of property and relatives by the Indians. After his marriage he worked rented farms for a few years, by which means he got his start in life, and finally got a farm of his own. It was a part of his father-in-law's farm, and on it he lived until his death, which occurred in 1866, his wife following him some six months later. They were both members of the Presbyterian Church for many years, and Mr. Tussey was most of the time one of the officers thereof. To them were born fifteen children, of whom ten grew to man's and woman's estate.
Robert Tussey, the fifth child of David Tussey, was born in the Canoe Valley, Jan. 30, 1816. He grew to manhood on the home farm, and was early taught that to earn one's bread by the sweat of the brow was one of the first laws of God. He remained with his father until his twenty-fourth year. On the 6th day of February, 1840, Mr. Tussey led to the altar Dorothy, daughter of Samuel and Susannah (Keller) Harnish. She was born Dec. 15, 1814. After their marriage Mr. Tussey rented for a couple of years the farm he now owns. Then, with a little help from his father, bought it, and life in his own home commenced. He has, in addition to his farming, dealt in cattle, and for many years furnished the people in the country around with beef and other fresh meats, in which way he added to his means and paid for his home. It is said of Mr. Tussey by those who knew him best that few men of his age have done as much work as he, and that now, in his sixty-seventh year, few young men do the amount of hard labor done by him. To Mr. and Mrs. Tussey there have been born the following children: William H., born Nov. 8, 1840, died April 6, 1850; Susannah, born June 22, 1842, married to William Irwin; Samuel C., born Jan. 31, 1844, married Annie Hileman; Mary E., born June 2, 1845; Elizabeth A., born March 1, 1847, married to Alexander D. Morrow; David F., born March 16, 1849, married to Malissa Walters; Lydia L., born Nov. 23, 1851, married to William Isett; Anna C., born July 13, 1854; Robert J., born Nov. 5, 1856, married Sady Harnish; and Lillian M., born May 5, 1859. Mr. and Mrs. Tussey have for many years been members of the Reformed Church, and during the most of the time he has been one of its elders. In early life a Whig in politics, he is now an ardent and true Republican.
Christian Harnish, grandfather of Mrs. Tussey, was born in Berks County, Pa., where his grandfather had settled on his arrival in this country from Germany, where he was born. Christian grew to manhood and married in Berks County, and in 1800 migrated to what is now (1883) Morris township, Huntingdon Co., where he bought one thousand acres of wild land. Part of this he improved, and on the farm now owned by Peter K. and Samuel Harnish built him a house, where he died in the spring of 1839. His son Samuel married Susan Keller, of Lancaster County, where her family were among the early settlers. Samuel bought three hundred acres of the thousand-acre tract of his father's, and continued the improvements already begun by him. At his death, which occurred in the fall of 1839, he left a wife and thirteen children, the eldest being twenty-five years old, the youngest a baby. Thus, left a widow, Mrs. Harnish found herself with a large family and with two farms, on which was an indebtedness of about four thousand dollars, a state of affairs which might well have made her feel that her burdens were more than she could bear. But she was not of the kind to give up, and, nothing daunted by the hard times, the scarcity of money, and the greatness of the task before her, this remarkable woman assumed command, and, with assistance of her family, who had been trained in ways of industry, she paid the debts and added other farms, leaving at her death, which occurred April 5, 1881, an estate of many thousands of dollars, besides giving each of her many children a wedding present of three hundred dollars, and also giving her son, Dr. Tobias Harnish, a collegiate education. She was a woman of a kind heart and amiable disposition, it being said of her by those who knew her for many years that she was never known to be cross or out of temper. Hospitality was one of her leading traits of character, and her home was a pleasant resort for the young people of the surrounding country. She died at a ripe old age, in the full possession of her every faculty, mourned and regretted by a wide circle of friends and relatives.
Northwest from this place lived as a pioneer Michael Wallace, a native of Maryland. After a time he removed to Laurel Springs, near Birmingham, where he engaged in manufacturing. In 1827 he returned to Morris, where he became the owner of Union Furnace, and carried on other enterprises at that point. He was the father of sons named Thomas, who removed to Ohio; Samuel, who died suddenly at Union Furnace; Robert, who died in Morris on the farm now occupied by his son John. His daughters married Dr. Jacob M. Gemmill and Henry Neff. Thomas Wallace, a brother of Michael, had a residence in Tyrone township, and was the father of sons named Crawford, Michael, Samuel, and Lloyd. One of his daughters became the wife of Hays Hamilton, of Franklin, for many years manager of Huntingdon Furnace; another, Dr. Oliver G. Scott, and for her second husband Capt. James Bell, while a third married James Crawford, of Tyrone.
In the Tussey neighborhood one of the oldest places was long occupied by Philip Roller. It is on the Manor tract, and was conveyed by the Penns to William Boyd, and by him to Thomas Law, who sold to Philip Roller in 1797, and after his death the farm became the property of Jesse Moore, of Frankstown. Philip Roller was a son of Jacob Roller, of Sinking Valley, and was one of the leading citizens of Morris until his decease, about 1840. Two years later Perry Moore became a resident of that farm, and yet continues to make it his home. He is son of Jesse Moore and grandson of Daniel Moore, one of the earliest settlers of Blair County. The latter and his brother William lived first in the "Loop," south of Hollidaysburg, and forted at McCahan's Mill. There William was killed by a skulking Indian. Daniel Moore subsequently became a settler of Scotch Valley, where he owned large tracts of land. He was married to a Miss Hamilton, a native of Scotland, who was a young lady when she came to this country. Of his sons, Jesse lived on the homestead until 1873, when he departed this life, at the age of eighty-three years. He served in the war of 1812, and was at Cleveland at the time of Perry's victory. His sons were Perry, Samuel L., William J., Silas D., Franklin, Elias R., and Madison M. The first named was born in 1816.
Farther south, Christian Harnish, from York County, settled about ninety years ago, dying on what is known as the Harnish homestead about 1837, at the age of seventy-nine years.
His son Samuel died on the homestead in 1839, at the age of fifty years. He was the father of sons named Christian, living in Delaware; John and Abraham, who died in Morris; Samuel and Peter, yet living in the township; and Dr. Tobias Harnish, of Alexandria. His daughters married Robert Tussey, of Morris; the Rev. Samuel H. Reid, Col. John Huyett, of Porter; Jacob F. Stiner, Samuel H. Keller, of Pittsburgh; Col. Ephraim Burkett, of Sinking Valley; and Albert Hileman, of Blair County. One of the daughters of Christian Harnish married John Keller, of Morris. Tobias Harnish, a brother of the foregoing, lived on an adjoining farm, and his sons, William and Peter, yet live in that locality. Other sons were Samuel, John, Jacob, and David. Two of his daughters married John Wertz and John Walters, both deceased.
Lewis Mytinger, a native of Lancaster County, came to Huntingdon about 1795, living for a number of years at Alexandria, where he was the first postmaster about 1802. In 1810 he settled at Water Street, on part of the Beatty and later Robert Province tract, where he died in 1847, having reared four sons and a like number of daughters. Of the former, Henry was living at Water Street in 1881, at the age of seventy-nine years; George, Lewis, and John are deceased. One of the daughters, Elizabeth, was married to Robert G. Stewart, of Yellow Springs, a son of David Stewart, one of the first settlers of Catharine township. She lived at Water Street in 1881, at the age of eighty-three years, and was the mother of Lewis M. Stewart, an attorney of that place, and former prothonotary of Huntingdon County. Her daughters married Dr. Jacob Forney and B. Franklin Bell, of Bell's Mills. Harriet Mytinger, another daughter of Lewis, was married to Anthony Stewart, of Catharine township, both being deceased.
On the upper part of the Beatty tract John Shaffer, a native of Berks County, settled in 1803. He reared five sons, four of whom are deceased. Jacob is living in Indiana County. Others were John, William, Adam, and Peter. The latter was married to Elizabeth, a daughter of Jacob Keller, and died at Shaffersville in 1874, at the age of seventy years.
John Keller was also from the eastern part of the State, settling in what is now Catharine township. He was the father of sons named John, Peter, Samuel, Henry, and Jacob. The latter lived on the old Matthew Dean place, now owned by the heirs of his son-in-law, James Cunning.
Jacob Tippery was among the pioneers of Sinking Valley, where he reared sons named Abraham, George, Henry, and Jacob, the latter being the father of Peter Tippery, of Morris.
John and Frederick Hileman, who became well-known citizens of Morris, came at a later period than the foregoing; and Michael Fetterhoof settled in the neighborhood of the tunnel about 1803. He was the father of sons named Michael, John, George, Joseph, and Samuel, all deceased or removed. Two sons of the former, George and Daniel, live in that locality at this time.
In 1796 the following persons were rated as taxables in what are now Morris and Catharine townships, each having the number of acres of land set opposite his name:
Consequent upon the opening of the Western country for settlement, a number of changes were made in the township, some removing and others taking their places. This condition is shown in the following list, prepared for the year 1812:
In 1880 the population, including the villages of Water Street and Spruce Creek, was six hundred and seventy-eight; not including the villages, four hundred.
Civil Organization. - The township became a body politic at the August term of the Court of Quarter Sessions in 1794, upon
"The petition of a number of the inhabitants of Tyrone township, which had been read on the Wednesday and Thursday of the last session, was again read on the Monday and Thursday of the present session, setting forth the difficulties they labor under by reason of the great distance and length of said township, and praying for a division of the same by a line so as to include the plantation of Philip Roller, and down the hollow from his house to the Little Juniata, the boundary of Franklin township, whereupon it is considered by the court and ordered that the southeast end of the said township of Tyrone, bounded by the line aforesaid, be erected into a separate township, and be hereafter distinguished and known by the name of Morris township."
The following have been the principal officers since the township was formed:
1795, John Bell; 1796, Jacob Ake; 1797, William Spitler; 1798, Philip Lawrence; 1799, George Davis; 1800, Thomas Donnelly; 1801, Christian Zimmerman; 1802, James Champion; 1803, John Pontius; 1804, John Clapper; 1805, William Boyd; 1806, James Lane, 1807, John Keller; 1808, John Fergus; 1809, Philip Roller; 1810, Jacob Ake; 1811, Michael Wallace; 1812, James Gray; 1813, David Tussey; 1814, Michael Keller; 1815, Thomas Johnston; 1816, George Davis; 1817, William Donaldson; 1818, James McClure; 1819-20, John Shaver; 1821, William Donnelly; 1822, Christian Harnich; 1823, Jacob Henry; 1824, John Carothers; 1825, Philip Roller; 1826, John Keller, Jr.; 1827-28, James Wray; 1829, John Aurandt; 1830-31, Stephen Hammond; 1832, Robert G. Stewart; 1833, John Hileman; 1834, Samuel Harnish.
OVERSEERS OF THE POOR.
1795-96, James McCune, William Spiller; 1797-99, John Dean, Samuel Fergus; 1800, John Montgomery, William Spitler.
1795, John Martin, James Champion; 1796, William Davis, Philip Roller; 1797, James McCune, John Fergus; 1798, George Davis, Jacob Ake; 1799, James Stewart, Nicholas Roller; 1800, Hugh McKillip, R. J. Law; 1801, John Beatty, John Keller; 1802, James Gray, Jacob Wetzell; 1803, John Dean, Thomas Provinse; 1804, Hugh Means, Michael Keller; 1805, John Hanna, Philip Lauman; 1806, James Dunn, John Pontius; 1807, Philip Roller, John Blackie; 1808, John Shaeffer, Fred. Kuhn; 1809, David Moore, Michael Wallace; 1810, Jonathan Montgomery, James Gray; 1811, Jonathan Montgomery, Christian Harnish; 1812-13, no returns; 1814, William Donnelly, George Davis; 1815, Casper Mogle, John Fergus; 1816, Michael Fetherstone, James Stewart; 1817-18, no returns; 1819, Christian Harnish, James Stewart; 1820, Christian Harnish, Fred. Law; 1821, Philip Roller, John Keller; 1822, no return; 1823, Thomas Jackson, Frederick Hileman; 1824, David Tussey, John Aurand; 1825-26, William Donnelly, George Davis; 1827, Jacob Henry, John Shaeffer; 1828, James Wray, Jacob Shaeffer; 1829, John Stewart, George Keller; 1830, John Clark, Philip Roller; 1831, William Hammond, James Perry; 1832-33, James Wray, John Hileman; 1834, Thomas Donnelly, Jacob Shaeffer; 1835, John Hileman, Jacob Shaeffer; 1836, John Donnelly, David Tussey; 1837, John Davis, Christian Law; 1838, Tobias Harnish, James Stewart; 1839, Charles E. Kinkead, Robert Dean; 1840, William Reed, Robert Kinkead; 1841, William Hammond, William Hileman; 1842, Michael Fetterhoof, William Reed; 1843, George Davis, John Keller; 1844, John Shaffer, Alexander Carothers; 1845, Benjamin Sprankle, John Donnelly; 1846, Michael Law, Peter Tippery; 1847, Peter Shaffer, John Davis; 1848, Peter Shaffer, David Tussey; 1849, Samuel P. Wallace, Jacob Harnish; 1850, Abraham Harnish, B. F. Wallace; 1851, Benjamin Moore, John Wattles; 1852, Michael Smith, Michael Law; 1853, Abraham Isenberg, Joseph Isenberg; 1854, William Hileman, Robert Tussey; 1855, Samuel C. Harnish, Perry Moore; 1856, Benjamin Sprankle, Joseph Shaffer; 1857, John Davis, T. Walter; 1858, Peter Shaver, Michael Law; 1859, Adam Focht, Daniel Shultz; 1860, John Davis, John Shaffer; 1861, Henry Ginter, Robert Tussey; 1862, Joseph Isenberg, Michael Sprankle; 1863, Peter Harnish, Michael Sprankle; 1864, William H. Beck, Jacob Baker; 1865, William H. Beck, John Keller; 1866, Peter Shaffer, William Wallace; 1867, Perry Moore, David Hileman; 1868, Perry Moore, Samuel Crawford; 1869, Robert Tussey, Samuel Crawford; 1870-71, N. Law, D. Keller; 1872, Peter Shaffer, J. D. Seeds; 1873, John Davis, Samuel Harnish; 1874, Peter Tippery, Robert Tussey; 1875, Peter Tippery, Samuel Sprankle; 1876, S. Harnish, John Davis; 1877, Samuel Rosebrough, John Souders; 1878, Martin Focht, Samuel H. Beck; 1879, William Law, Thomas Cummins; 1880, Adam Garner, Henry Shultz; 1881, John Kembler, Jacob Walter.
In 1846 the upper part of Canoe Valley was cut off from Morris and a new township formed with the name of Catharine. This was included with others in forming Blair County the same year. Since that period Morris has had its present limits.
General Industries and Villages. - Some time about 1793, Jacob Isett attempted to improve a water-power in the locality which afterwards became known as Union Furnace. The dam across the Juniata was swept away, and nothing further was done for the dozen years following. About 1810 the property passed into the hands of Edward B. Dorsey and Caleb Evans, who again improved the power and built a charcoal furnace of about thirty-five tons' capacity per week, getting the iron ore from the Dorsey bank in Warrior's Mark, about three miles distant. Under their ownership Cyrus Cartwright was the manager. In 1827, Michael Wallace became the owner, and the following year built the first of the three grist-mills which have been operated by that power. The furnace meantime had been idle, but was put in blast about 1830, and was carried on three years later by Robert Moore. In 1835, Jonathan Dorsey and Joseph Higgins were the operators, and a few years later Hugh McNeil. In 1848 the firm of George W. Patton & Co. (George W. Patton, Samuel B. Wallace, Dr. Jacob M. Gemmill, John S. Isett, and Samuel Isett) took charge of Union Furnace, and operated it until it was blown out of blast in 1852. Since that time it has been demolished and scarcely a trace of it now remains. The first mill was destroyed by fire and was rebuilt by Samuel Wallace. This also was burned down about 1877, while owned by James Haggerty & Son. The present fine mill was built in 1879 by the proprietor, Thomas K. Henderson. It is a fine three-story brick, supplied with four runs of stones, and in its appointments is one of the finest mills in the country. The Pennsylvania Railroad maintains a station at this place with the name of Union Furnace, but the post-office bears the name of Morrell, and was first kept by James Haggerty. The Union Furnace office, established before 1830 and kept by Michael Wallace, who also kept a store at that time, was discontinued many years ago. The postmaster of the Morrell office in 1881 was Thomas K. Henderson. A mill on the Juniata below this point, built in 1808 by Michael Wallace, was abandoned before 1830. Several small saw-mills, operated by water-power in different parts of the township, have also long since been discontinued.
The hamlet of Water Street, on the Frankstown Juniata, was begun some time after 1800, by Lewis Mytinger, on the lower part of the Beatty tract. In 1813 he bought a mill-site of John Fee, and erected thereon a mill, which was swept away by the flood of 1851. The present mill was built in 1854, by Henry Mytinger, and is yet owned by him. It has but a small capacity. Lewis Mytinger opened a good store at Water Street in 1810, and was a large trader after the building of the canal, the family continuing until after 1848. In 1832 he erected a warehouse on the canal, where immense quantities of grain were purchased, and goods received for the valleys of Blair and Centre Counties. The rental of that building alone, in the best period of the canal, was eight hundred dollars per year. After the railroad was built, in 1850, Water Street lost its importance as a shipping-point, and since the canal was abandoned, in 1875, the hamlet has steadily declined as a business point, there being in 1881 but a small store kept by T. C. Waite. Opposite this building is the old Mytinger stand, now vacant. Others in trade were Robert and Anthony Stewart, John Homer, John Balsbaugh, and Samuel Wareham.
On the same corner Robert Provinse had a public-house before 1800. Later there was an inn by Lewis Provinse, in the building which is now a part of the Wilson residence. In 1847, Henry Mytinger erected a very fine brick hotel, thirty-six by seventy-one feet, several stories high, which was kept a number of years by Abraham L. Moyer, Walter Graham for seven years, and by others for short periods. Prior to the decline of the village it had a large patronage. For a time the building was occupied by the Rev. Samuel H. Reid, who had there a boarding-school, which did not secure the patronage it merited.
Dr. John Ross located at Water Street as a physician in 1832, and subsequently the profession was represented there by Dr. A. L. Chestnutwood, Dr. Jacob Forney, Dr. Samuel Charlton, Drs. Irvin and Good. Dr. Tobias Harnish was the last regular physician, removing from this place to Alexandria.
The Water Street post-office was established about 1825, and four years later became a distributing office for mails for Centre and other northern counties, stages departing from Water Street twice per week for those points until the railroad was completed. The first postmaster was Lewis Mytinger, and subsequently the office was kept by the merchants of the place. The present postmaster is William Davis, the office being kept in that part of the hamlet which is called Shaffersville. A daily mail is supplied from Petersburg.
Shaffersville was so called for the owners of the upper part of the Beatty tract, upon which the hamlet is built. It consists of half a dozen houses, a store, and a neat Lutheran Church. In 1880 the population of the two parts of the hamlet, separated by a high hill, was sixty. About 1839 a store was there opened
by John Hileman and others, which in 1851 was kept by Davis & Fetterhoof. On the 15th of July that year occurred a flood which increased the volume of the brook flowing through Shaffersville to such an extent that the store, Mytinger's mill, and Robert Kinkead's house were swept away. In the latter were Mrs. Kinkead and children named Mary, Eliza, Robert, and Oliver, and Miss Ellen Hileman, a guest of the family. They had been entreated to leave the house for fear that it might not be able to withstand the angry waves which were even then beating against the side nearest the brook, but they did not heed this well-meant advice, and with their lives paid the penalty of their indiscretion. In the darkness of the night a heavy timber struck the house, knocking it from its foundation and breaking it to pieces. The unfortunate inmates were carried down the stream, the body of Miss Hileman being found at the Water Street wharf, that of Mrs. Kinkead below Alexandria, and the children at other places intermediate. At the same time a horse confined in a barn was carried down below the large canal dam, where he was found alive and uninjured. Above Water Street an immense land slide destroyed communication on the canal for a number of days, and the flood in its far-reaching effects was the greatest disaster the township has ever sustained. The merchant at present in trade is William Davis, in a building which stands near the site of the destroyed business house. At this point inns have been kept by Robert Kinkead, Mrs. McLaughlin, John Stahl, and others. The mechanic trades have been carried on by Peter Tippery, David Beck and his sons, and Howell Merryman, blacksmiths; John Shaffer and C. Young, shoemakers; William and George Walters, millwrights; Adam Slack, repair-shop; and since 1863, David Wilson, cabinet-maker at Water Street. At the latter place Samuel Caldwell had an axe-factory in operation many years, and when it was abandoned Job Plympton converted the building into a foundry and machine-shop. Later James Piper carried on the shop, which was destroyed by fire about 1869.
SPRUCE CREEK, a station on the railway a mile above the tunnel, is situated on both sides of the Little Juniata, and consequently is in two townships. That part lying in Franklin contains the manufacturing interests on Spruce Creek, while the Morris part of the village has the hotel and stores of the place. In the former is a fine Presbyterian Church, while the latter contains a Methodist house of worship. The two parts are connected by a bridge, which is the third across the stream at this point, the second having been destroyed by the great flood of Oct. 8, 1847. The first bridge was erected in 1819, and the second a year before its destruction. The general interests of the two parts are so much interblended that they are here considered as belonging to the village of Spruce Creek, in Morris. The population in 1880 was two hundred and eighteen.
The first settlers in this locality were two brothers by the name of Bebault, who built a small tub-mill near the mouth of Spruce Creek, about 1775. Later the property was owned by Abraham Sells, who had in connection with his mills a public-house. At a yet later period Jacob Beigle purchased the mills and some six hundred acres of land from Gen. Heister, of Reading, Pa., and divided his property among his five sons, who retained ownership until 1827, when John S. Isett secured the property, and it is yet owned by his family. The Isetts erected mills, a factory, and a forge, as will be detailed in the history of Franklin township, calling their part of the village Stockdale. On the Morris side, James Gray, a son-in-law of Col. John Canan, of Porter, became the owner of a tract of land on the 15th of April, 1820, on which, a few years later, he laid out a village which be called Graysport. The prospects and advantages of the village were attractively set forth in an advertisement in the Huntingdon Gazette of April 8, 1824, as follows:
The subscriber having laid out a small village called GRAYSPORT,
at the Bridge over the Little Juniata and opposite the mouth of Spruce Creek, offers for sale the LOTS at a very reasonable price, and on terms which will be advantageous to purchasers. The situation of the place holds out many inducements to industrious mechanics, who are actuated by the manly spirit of independence which prompts man to acquire property of his own, that be may not be subject to the capricious will of others. It is situated in a healthy part of the county, on a navigable stream, and is intersected by the great road (which is much traveled) leading by the way of Northumberland to Pittsburgh; is surrounded by Iron Works within a short distance in every direction, and within a few perches of a Grist and Saw-mill turned by a never-failing stream of water. Materials for building can be obtained here at a very trifling cost, there being good building stone, which can be had in abundance without quarrying, on the adjoining lands of the subscriber, within a few perches of the lots; these he will permit the purchasers to appropriate to themselves for building purposes without charging for the same.
"The one-half of the purchase money will be required to be paid in hand, the residue one year after the purchase without interest.
"March 1, 1824."
At this time Mr. Gray resided above the village, at a place called "Gray's Fording," where he had a tannery. The latter was discontinued about 1827, and eight years later Mr. Gray removed to Indiana County. His farm was sold to Michael Fetterhoof, and the unsold village lots to Nathaniel Lytle. The village retained the names of Stockdale and Graysport until the railroad located a station here with the name of Spruce Creek, and since about 1850 the place has been known by the latter title.
A number of lots were sold soon after they were placed in the market, and half a dozen houses built, but the village did not assume any business importance until the last-named period, when it received a large share of the trade which had been concentrated at Water Street. The flood of 1847 destroyed several buildings, but in the main the place has enjoyed uninterrupted prosperity, and Spruce Creek has the distinction of being the wealthiest village of its size in the State.
The first store was opened by John S. Isett, October, 1827, in a building which stood on the bank of the river, on the Franklin side, and was swept away by the flood of 1847. In 1830, Andrew McPherran opened a store on the Morris side, in a building which stood near the present Keystone House. Later proprietors of the store were Samuel Steel, Robert Moore, and John S. Isett. From 1836 till 1858 the latter was in trade on the Franklin side, and was the last to merchandise there.
In 1848, George H. Steiner built the second storehouse on the Morris side, in which be and others were in trade, and which has been occupied since 1870 by Edward B. Isett and Sidney Thompson, general merchants. The old stand has been occupied by various parties, and in 1881 contained a fine store belonging to John H. Law. A third business house, on the Morris side, was built in 1869 by E. W. Graffius, in which he has since merchandised. A fourth store is kept in the Keystone Block by Martin Hazlett.
After the public-house kept by Abraham Sells, Daniel Beck kept an inn on the Franklin side, occupying a log building. Thomas Johnston kept a public-house until he was elected sheriff in 1830. Samuel Steel, Jacob Streighthoof, Philip Lamy, and William Copley were successive landlords. Since 1842, R. F. Hazlett has been the keeper of a public-house, occupying since July 4, 1851, the Keystone Hotel. This is a four-story brick building, forty by eighty feet, containing forty-seven rooms, which are supplied with pure water, bathing appliances, and the conveniences of a first-class hotel.
The first post-office kept at this point bore the name of Graysport, and had John S. Isett as postmaster. It was discontinued because it failed to maintain itself. The present Spruce Creek office was established after the railway was some time in operation, and the postmasters have been George H. Steiner, Alexander Leeds, E. B. Isett, and Nathaniel Lytle, the present incumbent. Three mails per day are supplied by railroad and a daily mail from Centre Hall, in Centre County, by stage through the Spruce Creek Valley.
The first medical practitioner at Spruce Creek was a Dr. Hamilton, who came about 1834 and remained about two years, being followed by a Dr. Butler for a brief period. Dr. Adam McPherran came about 1845 and continued in that locality until his death in 1880. Dr. E. Nelson Banks was in practice from 1850 till 1853, when he removed to the West. Dr. Sidney Thompson, the present practitioner, was born in Mifflin County in 1834. At the age of twenty he graduated from Princeton College, and three years later, in 1857, from the University of Pennsylvania. Since August, 1857, he has been a resident of Spruce Creek.
Religious and Educational. - At Spruce Creek a Union meeting-house was built on the side hill, on the road to Canoe Valley, in 1850, in which various denominations maintained worship. It was also used as a place for public meetings and schools, and is yet used for the latter purposes. The building is a small but neat frame. One of the first religious organizations at Spruce Creek was a class of Methodists, which had in 1843 among its members Hugh Sharp, Jackson Barry, and John Whitney. In 1855 a series of meetings was held in the Union Church, which resulted in seventy-three additions to the membership of the class, numbering at that time but a few persons. From that time on
The Spruce Creek Methodist Church has been recognized as an organization of power and influence. In 1875, Mr. Edward Graffius donated a lot upon which to erect a house of worship, which was built during the year by a committee composed of Abraham Weight, David P. Henderson, and Edward Graffius. It is a two-story frame, thirty-five by forty-five feet, surmounted by a belfry, and cost three thousand five hundred dollars. The house was dedicated Aug. 6, 1876, by Rev. R. E. Wilson, assisted by Rev. Thomas Reese. The church belongs to Birmingham Circuit, and prior to 1874 sustained the same relation to Warrior's Mark Circuit, in which connection appear the names of the ministers who have preached at Spruce Creek. In 1881 the members of the church numbered sixty, and of the Sabbath-school one hundred. David P. Henderson was the superintendent of the latter, and Jackson Barry was for many years a class-leader of the church-members.
The Water Street Lutheran Church. - About 1819 a stone meeting-house was built at Shaffersville by the Lutheran and Reformed congregations of Morris and adjoining townships, in which the former worshiped until 1851, when the present fine Lutheran Church at Water Street was erected for its accommodation. It is a brick house, forty-two by fifty-four feet, and cost four thousand dollars, not including the lot, which was donated by Henry Mytinger. The trustees in 1881 were James Davis, David Hileman, and T. C. Waite, and at the same time the church council was composed of Elders James McClure and William Walter, Deacons P. Young, William Middaugh, C. H. Beck, and Daniel Fetterhoof.
At the time the meeting-house was built the congregation was composed of members belonging to the following families: Shaffer, Mytinger, Rung, Piper, Isenberg, Spyker, Stahl, Tipperey, Fetterhoof, Low, Hileman, Sorrick, Ginter, Walter, and Baker. In 1881 there were one hundred and twenty-eight members in the congregation and seventy-five in the Sunday-school, of which C. H. Beck was the superintendent. Prior to the building of the stone church meetings were held at the houses of some of the members or in school-houses, the preachers visiting the congregation at intervals of about one month. One of the first ministers was Rev. Fred. Haas, who came as early as 1804 and remained six years. He not only preached at Water Street, but also ministered to the Lutherans of Huntingdon, Williamsburg, Marklesburg, Cassville, and the Big Valley. Subsequently came the Revs. Robenock, Heinan, Osterhout, Mosher, Emmons, Williams, Rightmeyer, Crist, Aughey, Kistler, Battersby, and Kerlin. The latter is the pastor of a charge which embraces Water Street and Petersburg, and assumed that relation in the summer of 1881. Prior to this arrangement the church was connected with other congregations in forming a parish.
The Keller Reformed Church of Canoe Valley. - The Reformed congregation was organized at an earlier day, and embraced members living in Sinking Valley, Canoe Valley, and Porter township. The Rev. John Deitrick Aurandt came among the adherents of that faith in 1798, and made his home in the Canoe Valley, living in what is now Catharine township until his death, April 24, 1831. He was buried in the cemetery by the Stone Church, which he had helped to build a dozen years earlier. Then the congregation had as pastors Revs. Jonathan Keller, Moses Kiefer, and from Nov. 5, 1843, to Oct. 1, 1852, the Rev. Samuel H. Reid. In the third year of his pastorate the congregation withdrew from the Stone Church and divided itself into three parts, according to the locality in which they lived, each erecting its own house of worship and being a separate congregation, yet being connected as a charge, having the same pastoral supervision. Under this arrangement the members in Canoe Valley built the Keller Church in Catharine township, near the Morris line, in 1846. It is a brick house, with accommodations for four hundred and fifty persons, and the congregation worshiping there in 1881 was composed of eighty members. The church council had as elders James Patterson, Enoch Isenberg, Samuel Downing, and William Landis; as deacons, J. Thompson, Frank Tussey, Henry Harnish, and Z. T. Harnish. The latter and J. D. Aurandt were superintendents of a Sunday-school which had an attendance of sixty persons. In 1863 the congregation had seventy-six confirmed and seventy-nine baptized members, but on account of removals has been reduced to its present number. The pastors following Rev. S. H. Reid were Revs. F. A. Rupley, Joshua Riale, Josiah May, J. G. Wolf, John W. Love, J. A. Peters, and since December, 1878, the Rev. M. H. Sangree. The home of the pastor is at Alexandria, where has been the parsonage of Water Street charge since 1830.
Under the free-school system the following have been elected as directors:
1835, John Kyle, Philip Roller; 1836, John Stewart, John Hileman; 1837, Joseph Roller, Jacob Shaffer, John Keller; 1838, David Tussey, A. J. Stewart, John Rusandt; 1839, John Hileman, John Kyle; 1840, A. J. Stewart, Joseph Roller; 1841, William L. Spear, David Tussey, Solomon Snyder; 1842, Charles E. Kinkead, William Hammond, John Keller; 1843, Jesse Wolf, Peter Shaffer; 1844, John Clark, Michael Low; 1845, Allen Green, Joseph Isenberg; 1846, G. Davis, W. Hileman, P. Moore, M. Fetterhoof; 1847, J. B. Carothers, Wm. Hileman; 1848, Thomas Cummins, Henry Hamer; 1849, Robert Tussey, Benjamin Sprankle; 1850, Joseph Law, James B. Carothers, Joseph Isenberg; 1851, Samuel P. Wallace, John Davis; 1852, David Tussey, Peter Shaffer; 1853, James B. Carothers, John Keller; 1854, Perry Moore, John Shaffer; 1855, Nathaniel Lytle, William Walter; 1856, James Stewart, Casper Weight; 1857, William Hileman, B. F. Wallace; 1858, Abraham Harnish, Robert Tussey; 1859, David Stewart, Joseph Law; 1860, William Davis, Edward Beigle; 1861, Abraham Harnish, Benjamin Sprankle; 1862, Tobias Foreman, Perry Moore; 1863, Michael Low, William Isenberg; 1864, Abraham Harnish, Robert A. Dorsey; 1865, George Fetterhoof, Peter K. Harnish; 1866, Tobias Foreman, Edward Beigle, Samuel C. Tussey; 1867, John Isenberg, Samuel C. Tussey; 1868, Peter Shaffer, David Fetterhoof; 1869, James R. Haggerty, Tobias Foreman; 1870-71, Samuel Downing, D. Henderson; 1872, George Davis, D. Goodman; 1873, S. C. Tussey, S. Thompson; 1874, David Hilman, Peter Shaffer; 1875, D. Goodman, George Davis, S. H. Beck; 1876, D. Fetterhoof, Perry Moore; 1877, P. K. Harnish, T. C. Waite; 1878, Z. T. Harnish, Thompson Buckley; 1879, Perce Young, Thomas M. Benner; 1880, T. C. Waite, C. H. Beck; 1881, David Hileman, David Goodman, Wm. Low.
In 1881 there were four districts in the township, in which six months' school per year were maintained. The number of male pupils was eighty-one; of female, seventy-six. The average attendance was one hundred and thirty-two, and the cost of instruction ninety-five cents per month for each pupil. About seven hundred and fifty dollars were levied for school purposes.
Copyright © 1996-2011, All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 1996-2004 Ken Boonie & contributors
Copyright © 2005-2010 Judy Banja & contributors
Copyright © 2011 Josie Baughman & contributors