Township was created from a part of North Sewickley Township,
Beaver County, at the same time Lawrence County was erected, and at
first took in only that portion of it north of Conoquenessing Creek;
that south of the creek remained as North Sewickley until some time
afterwards, when it was added to Wayne.
township has an area of about 11,500 acres, and is peopled with a
prosperous agricultural class. The improvements throughout the township
are of a high order of excellence and the resources it possesses, both
from an agricultural and mineral point of view, are almost
surface is broken to an extensive degree, the hills in many places
rising three or four hundred feet above the valleys. The approaches to
Slippery Rock and Conoquenessing Creeks are through deep gorges
and thinly settled localities, although along the latter stream the land
is more easily adapted to farming purposes. On the south side of it,
towards the line of Beaver County. is a broad, level table land,
reaching back a mile or two to a range of hills bounding it on the
south. The land here is rich and fertile.
township contains the three villages of Wurtemburg, Chewton and
Staylesville. the latter one of the places which sprang up while the old
canal was in existence, and was superseded by Newport, in Big Beaver
Township, after the canal was abandoned and the railroad built. The
borough of Ellwood City also lies within the borders of the township.
Township has for its western boundary the Big Beaver River, numerous
tributaries of which head within its limits. On the east Slippery Rock
Creek forms the boundary between Wayne and Perry, and the Conoquenessing
enters on the south from Beaver County, and after receiving the waters
of the Slippery Rock curves around through the southern part of the
township, and finally enters the Big Beaver on the line between Lawrence
and Beaver Counties.
Rock Creek flows in a southerly direction until it reaches Wurtemburg,
and here it is met by a towering bluff 395 feet high, and obliged to
turn aside. From here it flows to the westward until it joins with the
waters of the Conoquenessing, the two streams meeting from almost
opposite directions. At this point the streams turn squarely to the
north, proceeds in this direction perhaps a hundred rods, then winds its
way westward then eastward, and back again until the Beaver is reached.
scenery along the streams is wild and impressive, especially that of the
Slippery Rock and Conoquenessing. The latter has no bottom lands at all,
and the former only very narrow strips in some places. High above the
streams, however. and at the base of a still higher range of hills there
are comparatively broad plateaux, the surface of them being extremely
greater part of the land in Wayne Township is in the Chew district and
was divided into 400-acre tracts, each settler on a tract becoming
entitled to one-half for settling. There are also numerous tracts which
were granted to the Washington Academy, of Washington, Pa.
was discovered near Wurtemburg, about 1826, by
James Dobbs, who was at the time working at Moses
Matheny's salt wells. Since then coal veins have been developed
in various localities in the township. A bank was opened on a tract of
Academy land, south of Chewton, and worked for some time. Above
Wurtemburg several mines are worked, and in the northern and western
portions of the township a considerable number of persons opened banks.
The vein is called a three-foot vein, but has only about twenty-eight
inches of coal on an average, the rest being more or less mixed with
slate. The coal is generally of a very good quality.
is found in many localities, but, like all the limestone of this region,
lies in thin, ragged strata, and is not lit for building purposes,
although it makes a very good quality of lime. The lime stone exists
near the summits of the hills, and is simply what remains of a once
continuous bed, before the country was cut so deeply by the numerous
streams into the rough condition we now behold. The stone is found at an
average height, and of a nearly uniform thickness and quality, proving
that the stratum was once continuous.
ore is also found, both of the red and blue varieties. About 1855-6, Charles
Rhodes bought half an acre of land on the stream which empties
into the Big Beaver below Chewton, and intended to erect a saw-mill.
While excavating a place in which to set his wheel be struck a vein of
the "blue ore," and immediately abandoned the purpose of building a
saw-mill, and began taking out ore. The business paid him well, and
raised a great excitement in the vicinity. It was the first iron ore
discovered in the township, and immediately a number of persons began
prospecting. Finally, John Warner
discovered a bank of the "red ore," in some places reaching a
thickness of twenty-two feet. Dr. John Wallace purchased
this bank and worked it extensively.
existence of the red ore was not known until after the discovery of the
blue ore, but, when it was developed, the working of the latter was
abandoned, as the other quality was much richer and more easily worked.
the year 1800, Abraham McCurdy came from
the Susquehanna Valley and settled near where Wurtemburg now stands.
Newton came to the township in the neighborhood of 1800, and
settled on the farm where his son, Jacob Newton,
lived for many years after.
and Benjamin Cunningham came from Fayette County, Pennsylvania,
in the year 1796. William settled on the farm lately owned by B.
S. Cunningham, and Benjamin on that lately owned by Ira
Cunningham. They came in the fall of that year and built cabins and made
other improvements on their places, then returned to Fayette County for
their families. They returned to their new possessions in the spring of
1797. The Cunninghams now occupy a
considerable portion of the north part of Wayne Township, and have
contributed much towards its improvement.
year 1796 marked the arrival of eight persons, six besides the Cunninghams.
They were Abel Hennon, Robert and Samuel
Gaston, William Cairns, Charles Morrow and John Moore. Only a
portion of them settled or remained in what is now Wayne Township.
the Cunninghams came to the township they hewed out the end of a block
"dish fashion," and pounded their corn in it for about two years,
when a grist-mill was built by Ananias Allen, and
they had their grinding done there.
Hennon, who was one of the settlers of 1796, located on a
400-acre tract of which he received one-half for settling.
Hennon came in 1798 and bought a settlement right to a 400-acre
tract of Jesse Myers, who had built a cabin
on the place. The place was later occupied by his son, George
Hennon, who was the first child born in the family after their
settlement, the date of his birth being April 19. 1800. The Hennons
were originally from Ireland, and located first in the State of
Maryland. They afterwards removed to the valley of Jacob's Creek, in
Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and from there came to Beaver County. Two
of the earlier members of the family, George and
Thomas Hennon, Sr., were soldiers in the American Revolution.
Vaneman located in New Castle about 1802-3, where he rebuilt and
re fitted a grist-mill on the Neshannock, which had been originally
erected about 1800 by John Elliott. The
mill was partially destroyed by a freshet in the creek, and Vaneman
removed to Wayne Township about 1808-9 and put up a grist and saw-mill
on what is now known as "Mill Run," or "Big Run," which
discharges its waters into the Big Beaver below Chew-ton. The mills
stood for a good many years, and finally fell to pieces, and none have
been rebuilt on the site since. He operated the mill until unable to run
it longer, when his son continued the business for some time.
Allen settled a farm in Wayne Township previous to 1800 and sold
it to Solomon Egner in 1818.
Booher came first to Neshannock Township about 1806, and bought
land of Jesse DuShane, of New Castle, about
McConahy came from County Antrim, Ireland, in 1817, leaving his
family there. They followed him two years later (1819), and came to
Beaver Town, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Here they stayed until 1821,
when they removed to a farm of 100 acres, lying in Shenango Township,
John McConahy (son of Thomas
McConahy) farm, in Wayne, was originally settled by
Peter Book, who made the improvements upon it. The original tract
was 400 acres, and, with a few other tracts in the neighborhood did not
belong to the land in the Chew district. Peter Book was of German
descent, and came from Northampton County, Pennsylvania, to Pittsburg,
from which place he came to what is now Wayne Township in 1796-7.
Work came originally from the State of Maryland to Mifflin
County, Pennsylvania. In the year 1797 he came to Crawford County, where
he lived until 1824, then moved to the farm in Wayne Township, Lawrence
County, later occupied by his son, William Work.
The land is part of a tract of 400 acres, originally settled by Moses
McCollum in 1797.
Ward came from York County, Pennsylvania, when a young man, with
his mother and step-father, and located first in Beaver Town, Beaver
County. This was in the neighborhood of the year 1800. Mr. Ward was
married at Beaver Town to Miss Elizabeth
Shoemaker, and afterward came to Lawrence County. He located on a
farm on Slippery Rock Creek about 1806-8.
Wilson came to the township previous to 1800, and settled on the
farm now owned by his heirs. He was originally from the State of
Maryland, and settled in the Chartiers Valley, in Allegheny County,
Pennsylvania, about twelve miles from Pittsburg, from whence he came to
what is now Lawrence County. The year after Mr. Wilson arrived, his
brothers, William, Andrew, James and Alexander, also
came out. William Wilson commanded a
militia company in the neighborhood during the time of military
organizations, and from that circumstance received the title of captain.
Guy came to the township about the same time as the Wilsons
and settled on a part of the same farm.
Matheny came from the Shenandoah Valley, West Virginia, about
1800, and settled first in the edge of Beaver County, Pennsylvania. He
afterwards re moved to a farm in Wayne Township, Lawrence County,
three-fourths of a mile from Wurtemburg. Mr. Matheny was a cabinetmaker,
the first mechanic in the neighborhood, and made the first rough coffin.
In 1807 he was married to Hannah Nye, whose
father, Andrew Nye, had settled early on
the farm on the south side of the Conoquenessing, yet owned by the Nye
Matheny was closely identified with the plans for the early improvement
of the country in which he had settled. In 1839 he built a stone tavern
on the north side of the Conoquenessing, at its mouth, and rented it to Samuel
Copper, who kept it for some time; other persons also kept the
tavern, but when the canal business stopped it was discontinued.
Newton was among the first settlers in the township and purchased
land of William Thomas, who must have been
a very early settler.
1812-15 a company of Quakers came from the eastern part of the State,
purchased a large acreage of the hilly lands of the Conoquenessing, and
went to work to improve the water-power. They tried to build a dam
twenty-eight feet high across the creek, but the attempt proved a
failure, and they afterward built a brace dam on a smaller scale, and
cut a hole in the rock and built a strong stone grist-mill in it. The
creek rose shortly afterwards and washed both dam and mile away. After
this failure the Quakers went to Beaver Falls.
Dell post-office was established about 1871-2, near Matheny's
mill. The first postmaster was John H. Marshall,
and he was succeeded by Andrew Cole.
1823-4 a log-mill was built on nearly the same spot as the Matheny
mill by Orrin Newton. In 1834,
J. N. Nye purchased the mill and operated it awhile. About 1840
some parties who were fishing carelessly dropped some fire into it and
it burned down. The Matheny mill, which was built in 1847 by Jonathan
Evans, was owned by Thomas Jones at one time. He was caught in
the machinery in some way while oiling the wheel and killed, about
1864-5. Under the management of E. C. Matheny
the mill developed into a flourishing plant.
Newton, the same person who built the original mill on the site
of Matheny's building, had a primitive affair long before this,
consisting of a wheel set in a crevice in the rock, and run by hand when
the water was low. This was the first mill on the creek below the mouth
of the Slippery Rock, and was of the simplest kind. It could grind but
very slowly, and did nothing more than crack the grain. The old Newton
mill was at Conoquenessing Falls.
log grist-mill, with a saw-mill attach ment, was built about 1830-32 by Nicholas
Mayne, and stood a short distance above the Matheny mill.
Latimer built a grist-mill two or three miles above this, about
1855. It was a good frame mill, but, as the power was not sufficient at
the place it was abandoned.
McQuiston built a grist-mill on the Conoquenessing, a little
distance above the mouth of Slippery Rock Creek, but it was only run a
have been built in nearly every portion of the township, though but very
few are now in operation, and those port able.
McLaughlin had a saw-mill close by the McQuiston
1852, William Gaston built a saw mill on
his place, above Chewton, on a small run flowing through it, and had
good water power.
Township was well represented in the United States army during the War
of 1812, among those who went to the front being: Abraham
McCurdy, Sr., John Newton, Benjamin Cunningham, Thomas Hennon, at
Black Bock; William Ward, in Capt. James
Stewart's company, was at Black Bock, and Hugh
Wilson and Moses Guy, who were at Black Rock.
Wayne, as in other townships, military organizations were kept up,
William Wilson commanding one company. A company known as the "North
Sewickley Marksmen" was organized about 1830-31, with some sixty men,
and the number afterwards increased to seventy or eighty. John
M. Hennon was the first captain, and Isaac
Newton, William Sherrard and others served as lieutenants. The
men were dressed in ordinary apparel, but their citizens' hats were
decked with red and white plumes, and they wore red sashes and belts;
they were armed with common rifles. The organization existed until about
Township furnished her quota of troops during the War of the Rebellion,
scattered through various regiments. Most of those who went to the
front, however, were members of the famous Round Head (One Hundredth
log cabin schoolhouse was built on the McCollum
tract, in Wayne, previous to 1815, and school was conducted in it for
some time. It finally was destroyed by fire. About 1820 another log
schoolhouse was built about a half mile northwest of the first, and it
too was finally burned to the ground.
Grandy was a teacher in the first building, and Robert
Laughlin was the first teacher in the latter. Other primitive
schoolhouses were built at different times by the citizens, and carried
on by subscription until the law was passed establishing free schools.
1908 the number of schools in Wayne District (Township) was nine. The
enrollment of school children for the same year was 276. A total of
$2,750 was paid for teachers' wages, the number of teachers for the
year being nine. The total expenditures for the year for school purposes
were $3,825. This was aside from Wurtemburg and Chewton villages, which
are independent districts.
Slippery Rock Presbyterian Church
Primitive Methodist Church
The Village Of Staylesville
Source: Twentieth Century History of New Castle and Lawrence County, 1908, pages 354-365