History of Erie Co., Pennsylvania
Chicago: Warnerm Beers & Co., 1884
[ 655 ]
MILL CREEK ...
(pages 655-749 under construction)
750 HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY.
SPRINGFIELD is the northwestern township of the county, and has an area of 21,788 acres. It was one of the original sixteen. The township is bounded on the north by Lake Erie, on the east by Girard and Conneaut, on the south by Conneaut, and on the west by Ashtabula County, Ohio. Up to the year 1885, the south line was a mile or so further north than now, but by an arrangement with Conneaut the latter ceded that portion of her territory lying beyond the creek, on condition that Springfield should pay one-half the expense of maintaining bridges along the boundary. The east line of Springfield extended to Miles Grove, parallel with that of Conneaut and Elk Creek; until 1832, when the township was reduced by the formation of Girard. The first officers of the township were elected in 1811. Springfield contained 896 inhabitants in 1820, 1,520, in 1830, 2,344 in 1840, 1,916 in 1850, 1,742 in 1870, and 1,792 in 1880. Its greatest length is about seven and a half and its greatest width about six and a quarter miles. The villages are East Springfield, West Springfield and North Springfield, all of which have post offices of the same name. The old State line of Pennsylvania, before the purchase of the Triangle, terminated on the farm of Joseph Hewitt, in Springfield, between four and five miles east of the Ohio boundary.
LANDS, ETC.The lake shore plain is about three miles wide in Springfield, and while there is a good deal of high broken land in the south part, the township is less marred by gullies than is the case further east in the county. The best portion of the township is conceded to lie along the Ridge road, in the vicinity of East Springfield. A mile or less west of that place, on the same line, the quality of the land deteriorates, though some excellent farms are found at and around the village of West Springfield. In the eastern part of the township, the lake shore lands are generally good, but in the neighborhood of Raccoon Creek they become sour, and from there on to Ohio are below the average of the county. Numerous stretches of sand are met with that hardly pay for cultivation, and other parts are cold, swampy and difficult of drainage. Back of the Ridge road, and from there to Conneaut Creek, the soil is usually clay, with here and there a sand hill, which forms a curious feature of the topography. As there are exceptions to all rules, so there is to this statement. A valley commences just south of West Springfield and extends clear into Ohio, with a width ranging from a half a mile to a mile, which is one of the best portions of the township. Wheat and other grains are raised everywhere, but the back country is best adapted for grazing. Great quantities of potatoes are produced, and many carloads are shipped annually from Cross's Station and North Springfield. The lake shore farms are valued at $30 to $100 per acre, the Ridge road at $40 to $100, and the back country from $30 to $70.
The bank of the lake is bold and abrupt along the font of Springfield Township, ranging in height from fifty to sixty feet. The Moravian grant embraced 2,797 acres in Springfield and Conneaut, extending from the lake to
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 751
a short distance south of Conneaut Creek, and taking in a strip about a mile wide, except at the Ridge road, where it narrowed to fifty or sixty rods. The reason for this diversion was that the surveyors encountered a formidable beaver swamp at that point, which has since been mostly reclaimed by drainage. William and James Miles were long the agents of the Moravians. The tract was bought in a body by N. Blickensderfer and James Miles in 1849, who sold it out in pieces from 1850 on. The Ridge road is closely settled between East and West Springfield, and many of the farmhouses are large, neat and pleasant, giving an impression of wealth and comfort. Several of the buildings are brick, and nearly all are surrounded by pretty grounds. Some delightful homes are also to be seen on the road from the lake to East Springfield.
The assessment for 1883 gave the following results: Value of real estate, $941,410; cows, 558; value, $13,947; oxen; value, $340; horses and mules, 448; value, $28,660; value of trades and occupations, $9,750; money at interest, $34,860.
EARLY SETTLERS.The first settler in the township was Capt. Samuel Holliday, of Franklin County, who came on in 1796, located 700 acres at the mouth of Crooked Creek, built a cabin, and returned to his former home in the fall of the year. Soon after his arrival, he was joined by John Devore, of Bedford County, John Mershon, of New Jersey, and William McIntyre and Patrick Ager, natives of Ireland, but residents for a time in Eastern Pennsylvania, all of whom became permanent settlers. Capt. Holliday married in Franklin County in April, 1797, and the young couple started immediately on a wedding tour to their new home, Mrs. H. riding on horseback and her husband walking by her side with his gun over his shoulder. Their route was by a trail through the woods from Pittsburgh to Erie, and from there along the beach of the lake to the mouth of Crooked Creek. Their goods came some time after, in boats up the Allegheny and French Creek to Waterford. During the year 1797, the little colony was increased by the arrival of Oliver Cross, from Vermont, and of Thomas and Oliver Dunn, from Ireland. The Dunns remained but a few months, when they changed to McKean, where they settled permanently. Other pioneers reached the township as follows: In 1798, Nicholas Lebarger, of Bedford County; in 1800, Matthias Brindle, of Franklin County, and a Mr. Bruce; in 1801, Robert McKee, of Cumberland County, and Oliver Smith, from Massachusetts; in 1802, Isaac, Jesse, John D. and Thomas R. Miller, John Eaton and John Law, all of Franklin County, Henry Adams, of Massachusetts, John Hewitt, of Connecticut, and John Rudd, Jr.; in 1803, Andrew Cochran and Abraham Eagley, of Dauphin County, George Ferguson, of Cumberland County, and William Ferguson, of Ohio; in 1804, Samuel Rea, of Franklin County, and John Rudd, Sr., and family; in 1806, John Hall, of Mifflin County, in 1808, Erastus DeWolf, of New York; in 1810, Joseph Ware, of Vermont; in 1813, Zachariah Thomas, of Vermont; in 1815, William Gould, of Chautauqua County, N. Y., Anderson Hubbard, of Ohio, and Luke Thayer, of Massachusetts; in 1816, Benjamin Carr, of Essex County, N. Y.; in 1817, John Albert, of Cattaraugus County, N. Y.; in 1818, David Ellis, of Massachusetts, and Derby Walter and Ezekiel Currier, both of Lyme, N. H.; in 1819, Andrew and Henry Mallory and Thomas Ivory, all of New York; in 1820, James, Benjamin and Lucius Bond of Massachusetts, John S. Sherman, of New York, and James Anderson, of Virginia; in 1824, A. Whiton, of Ashtabula County, Ohio; in 1826, John Monell, of Otsego County, N. Y., and Peter Simmons; in 1829, Geo. Simmons, of Saratoga County, N. Y.; in 1830,
752 HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY.
Lorenzo Harvey, of New York, William H. Townsend, of Washington County, N. Y., and Selah Walbridge, of Vermont; in 1831, I. Pond, of New York, and Seymour Devereaux, of North East; in 1832, Scott Keith, of Girard, Penn., Stephen Warner, of Genesee County, N. Y., and Matthew Gray, of Lockport, N. Y.; in 1833, R. R. Robinson, of Sparta, N. Y.; in 1834, William Marsh and E. Smith, both of Wyoming County, N. Y.; in 1835, Clark Baldwin, of Vermont, Thomas Potter, of New York, and E. B. Hedden and William Church, both of New Jersey; in 1836, Thomas Webster, of Washington County, N. Y.; in 1839, T. S. Cowles, of Connecticut; in 1840, C. Lindsey, of New York; in 1841, Joseph Strong, of Massachusetts; in 1842, Gilbert Hurd, from Rock Stream, N. Y.; in 1846, L. W. Savage, of Genesee County, N. Y.; in 1854, Joel Day, of Wyoming County, N. Y.; in 1863, Humphrey A. Hills, of Conneaut Township. Mr. Brindle, like Capt. Holliday, first came on in 1800, located lands, went back and brought his family the next spring. He was a soldier of 1812, and the father of thirteen children. Jesse Miller removed to Mercer County in a few years, and remained there the balance of his life. Mr. Smith reached the county by an open boat from Canada, where it was his original purpose to locate.
INCIDENTS OF THE PIONEERS.Mr. McIntyre died in 1867, at the ripe age of ninety-five. He brought the first potatoes planted in the township, carrying them in a sack thrown over his back the entire distance from Pittsburgh. In 1802, a barrel of salt cost Robert McKee fifty Spanish dollars; it had to be brought from Buffalo to Erie in small boat, and from the latter place to Springfield on pack horses. In 1800, the only route to Erie was along the beach of the lake or by a bridle path through the woods. At that period, there was a wide beach along the whole lake front of the county. Andrew Cochran was Captain of a company of soldiers during the last war with Great Britain, who volunteered for the protection of our coast, and remained in service till the declaration of peace. It was attached to the command of Col. Wallace, at Erie; was frequently called out, but was never actually in an engagement. Some time during the campaign, a rumor reached the township that the enemy had landed at the mouth of Conneaut Creek, which created the utmost consternation in the infant settlement. Several families fled, and other had preparations made for a hasty departure. Luckily, the report proved to be false. The first female which child was Elizabeth Holliday, born May 14, 1798; the first mile white child was Joseph Brindle, born March 1, 1800; and the first funeral is said to have been that of the wife of Isaac Miller, whose grave, some assert, was the first in the old Presbyterian Graveyard. This is disputed, however, by one of the old residents, who is positive the interment of a Mr. Davis took place earlier. Mr. Simmons is the oldest man who has ever resided in the township, and one of the oldest in the county. He was still living in 1881 in his ninety-eighth year.
STREAMS, MILLS AND FACTORIES.The chief stream of Springfield is Conneaut Creek, which forms its entire southern boundary. The stream does not receive a single tributary in the township; on the contrary the high but tillable hills which border its channel, are the head-waters of two or three creeks which flow northward to the lake. Next in importance to Conneaut Creek is Crooked Creek, which rises within the borough limits of Lockport, runs in a general northwesterly course, through the southern portion of Girard and the northeastern of Springfield, and falls into the lake about a half a mile beyond North Springfield,
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 753
having a length of some ten miles. Raccoon Creek heads on the farm of J. Cross, near Conneaut Creek, and flowing north, after a course of about ten miles, reaches the lake at Eagley's Grove. Turkey Run takes its rise on the Gleason farm, a little south of West Springfield, and flows about four and a half miles within the township and a mile or more in Ohio. It falls into the lake east of Conneaut harbor. Two or three small streams run into the lake which are not of sufficient importance to have a name. The channel of Crooked Creek, from the Girard line to the lake, is wide and deep, but the banks are less precipitous through the lake shore plain than those of Elk and Walnut Creeks. Five substantial covered bridges span Conneaut Creek, built, owned and maintained by the two townships. The Lake Shore Railroad culvert and embankment over Crooked Creek at North Springfield is one of the most solid and costly pieces of work in the county The embankment is ninety feet above the water, and from 700 to 800 feet long. It was through this culvert that a house was washed in the fall of 1878, during the greatest flood ever known on the stream. The manufacturing concerns of Springfield Township are Forter's grist and saw mill, on Conneaut Creek, half a mile north of Cherry Hill; H. V. Lines' grist and saw mill, on the Ridge road, a mile east of East Springfield; J. M. Strong's grist and saw mill, a mile north of East Springfield; Reed's saw mill, on the Ridge road, half a mile west of West Springfield; a cheese factory at the latter place and an extensive tile works. Lines' and Strong's mills are both in the valley of Crooked Creek, and propelled by the water of that stream, in connection with steam. The Porter Mill was built by Comfort Hay about 1823, and the West Springfield Tile Works were started in 1869. The cheese factory at the latter place was established in 1874, has run successfully from the first, and is still well patronized. The Strong Mills were built by Andrew Cochran about 1820, and rebuilt by Thomas Webster, about 1841 or 1842, who ran them till his death, in 1860, when they fell into the hands of Joseph M. Strong. He has recently overhauled them, and they are in as good condition as any similar property in the county. The first saw mill where Lines' mills are was built by Amos Remington and Oliver Cross about 1814, and rebuilt by Nathan Cass about 1824 or 1825, who managed it jointly with Willard Pope. The firm sold the property to Mr. Case, who built the grist mill about 1832. After Case, the mills changed owners frequently, being sold in succession to Tucker & Woodruff, Justin Nash, William Cross, Scott Keith and Walter and Henry Keith, who rebuilt them in 1857 or 1858. Two or three years after they were put up at Sheriff's sale, and bid in by Judge Cross, who gave the title to Jonathan Keith; from him they passed into the hands of Oliver & Brecht, of Mr. Finkinger, and finally about 1870, of Mr. Line. They were burned in 1871 and rebuilt in 1872. The very first mill owner in the township was Capt. Holliday, who built a saw mill about 1801 or 1802, and a grist mill in 1803, near the mouth of Crooked Creek, both of which have gone down. This grist mill was erected a little later than the Silverthorn Mill in Girard, contrary to the usual belief.
BURIAL PLACES.The cemetery at East Springfield is the principal burying place of the township, though small graveyards are attached to the Christian Church in the same village, at West Springfield, at the Town House, and in other localities. The inclosure takes in eighteen acres of high and dry gravel and loam on the north side of the village, is tastefully laid out, contains some fine monuments, is carefully kept, and is deservedly the pride of the people. It was originally the burial ground of the Presbyterian Church, to which other land was added
754 HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY.
by purchase. The cemetery was surveyed and graded in 1864, John H. Miller being the engineer and Robert P. Holliday the contractor. The first sale of lots was in October of that year, and the fires body interred was that of Henry Keith, which was placed in the inclosure in August, 1864, before the work was completed. The original officers were: William Holliday, President' I. Newton Miller, Secretary; T. Webster, Treasurer; William Cross, Samuel Holliday, Henry Teller, J. M. Strong and Samuel H. Brindle, Managers. Judge Cross was elected President in January, 1878, and still retains the position. Messrs. Miller and Webster have been officers from the day the cemetery originated to the present hour. Funerals come from Girard, Elk Creek and Conneaut. In the northeast part of the cemetery are still to be seen traces of one of the series of ancient earthworks, four in number, which extended from the western part of Girard to the southern portion of Springfield. The other mounds in Springfield are on the M. Oney farm, about a mile southwest of East Springfield, and on the Thomas McKee place, half a mile further west. They are all in a direct line from northeast to southwest, and are similar in character, each one covering over half an acre, being circular in form, and having earthen embankments two to three feet high by six feet thick at the base.
During the war for the Union, Springfield sent about 150 men into the army. Every one of the departed patriots has a headstone at the township expense.
PUBLIC MEN.The following is a list of citizens of Springfield who have held State and county offices: Assembly, thomas R. Miller, 1836; David a. gould, 1843 and 1846; L. Newton Miller, 1870. Associate Judge, William Cross, November 22, 1861, to November 8, 1866; elected without opposition, his name being on the Union and Republican ticket. Prothonotary, Maj. S. V. Holliday, January 2, 1882-85. County superintendent of Public Schools, L. W. Savage, 1860-63. Register and Recorder, Samuel Rea, Jr., November 17, 1863, to November 16, 1866; Henry G. Harvey, November 16, 1866, to November 19, 1872. county treasurer, Thomas J. Devore, December 23, 1878, to December 20, 1860. county commissioner, Thomas R. Miller, 1831-34; Richard Robinson, 1852-55.Directors of the Poor, Thomas R. Miller, 1840-42. John Spaulding was elected in 1856, but refused to serve. County Auditor, John Eagley, 1848-51. Mercantile Appraisers, Samuel Rea, Jr., 1858; Perry Devore, 1862. County Surveyor, Robert P. Holliday, November 5, 1863, to November 12, 1866, and February, 1869, to November 11, 1872; George M.Robison, January, 1879, to May, 1879. Hon. Humphrey A. Hills, County Commissioner from 1847-50, Deputy Marshal for taking the census in 1850, Commissioner to fix the boundary between Erie and Crawford Counties in the same year, and Assemblyman in 1852-53, has been a resident of East Springfield since 1863, moving there from Conneaut, his former home. E. B. Ward, the Detroit millionaire, was a native of the township, where he began life as a fisherman and sailor. The citizens of Springfield who have become residents of Erie City are Samuel Rea, Jr., Col. E. P. Gould, Carl Walbridge, Joseph Patterson and A. E. Sisson.
ACADEMIES AND SCHOOLS.The township possess no less than three Academies, one each at the villages of East, West and North Springfield. The first of these, at West Springfield, was founded in 1853, and had a hundred and sixty-five pupils in 1855, with four teachers. Among its Principals were John A. Austin, W. H. Heller, Joseph H. colt and C. C. Sheffield. It was burned down in December, 1859,
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 755
and rebuilt of brick two or three years subsequently. The East Springfield Academy, once an institution of high repute, opening with 150 scholars, grew out of rivalry between the two villages, and was built in 1856. The first Principal was B. J.Hawkins, and L. W. Savage held the position in 1858. Neither school has been maintained distinctly as an academy for some years. The one at East Springfield is now used wholly as a public school, and the West Springfield one as a select and public school, the former having two and the latter three teachers. The North Springfield academy was established in 1866, after the two others had rundown, and is still maintained as a select school. The other schools of the township are the Depot, at North Springfield; Anderson, on the Lake road, three-quarters of a mile north of Strong's mill; Weed, two miles south of East Springfield, on the Albion road; Baldwin, on the Ridge road, a mile west of East Springfield; Moon, on the road from West Springfield to Albion; Center, near the Town House; Brockway, one mile north of the Town House; Brindle, on the Lake road, a mile and a half west of North Springfield; Devereaux, near Devereaux Corners; Hubbard, on the Ridge road, beyond West Springfield; Blickensderfer, on the Lake road, one mile west of Raccoon Creek, and Hewett, in the southwest. One of the first schoolhouses was built at an early day on the Joseph Eagley place, near the lake. The material was logs, with chimney of stones and sticks. In 1818, a log schoolhouse was standing in what is now the village of East Springfield, in which James Porter was teaching school. William Clark, a Mr. West and a Mr. Smith were other early teachers in the East Springfield settlement. About the year 1822, Louisa De Wolf kept a school in a vacated log cabin located in the Ferguson neighborhood, about three miles southwest of East Springfield. Not long after this, another school was held in a similar building, probably a mile east of East Springfield, in the summer by Jane Ferguson and in the winter by William Branch. About the year 1827, a frame schoolhouse stood in the Vanderventer neighborhood, some two and a half miles southwest of East Springfield. Hiram Dixon was one of the early teachers in this house.
RAILROADS, COMMON ROADS AND HOTELS.Springfield has the advantage of two through lines of railroad -- the Lake Shore and the Nickel Plate -- which cross the township from Girard into Ohio, the first at a distance of half a mile to a mile from the lake, and the second farther south. The Lake Shore has a station at North Springfield, and the Nickel Plate one each for East and West Springfield. The Erie & Pittsburg Railroad branches off from the Lake Shore in Girard Township, half a mile from the Springfield line, which it follows southward into Conneaut, at about the same average distance. Crosses' Station, in Girard Township, a mile and a half from East Springfield, was established for the accommodation of the township. The principal common thoroughfares are the Ridge road, which runs nearly through the center of the township, forming the main streets of East and West Springfield; the Lake road, which is half a mile from the water at North Springfield, and follows the lake front to the Ohio line; the Middle Ridge, which leaves the Lake road not far from North Springfield, runs southwest and strikes the Ridge road a mile beyond West Springfield; the Kingsville, which branches off from the Ridge road two-thirds of a mile west of East Springfield and continues to Kingsville, Ohio; and the roads from East and West Springfield to Albion, which come together at Sherman's Corners, near Conneaut Creek, in the southeast.
From the close of the last war with Great Britain to the opening of the railroad, the travel on the Ridge road was very extensive, requiring numerous
756 HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY.
public houses on the route. Scott Keith opened a house at East Springfield for the accommodation of the public in 1832, which became one of the most famous and popular between Erie and Cleveland. It is still open. In 1822, William Doty removed to East Springfield from North East, and took charge of the old Remington stand, which he kept till his death in 1864. The Keith House is still kept open. The East Springfield Post Office, the first in the township, was established many years ago. The post offices at West Springfield was established in 1838 or 1839, with Samuel Castle as the first Postmaster, and the one at North Springfield some time after 1860. That at West Springfield was long kept by Riley Potter. On the night of the 6th of December, 1874, this office was broken into and robbed, set on fire by the burglars and destroyed with the store to which it was attached. Two of the guilty parties were caught, convicted and sent to the penitentiary.
CHURCHES.The churches of the township are Presbyterian, Methodist Episcopal and Christian at East Springfield, and Methodist Episcopal, Baptist and Universalist at West Springfield. The Universalist and the two Methodist Episcopal buildings are brick; all the rest are frame. The Methodist congregations are one charge, having their parsonage at West Springfield. John Mershon was married to Miss Bathsheba Brush, of Greene County, in January, 1799, three years after his settlement in this county. When the bride came to her new home she brought with her a church letter from the Methodist minister at the place of her former residence. By her inducement, Rev. Joseph Bowen, a local preacher of the denomination at Franklin, Penn., held services in the Mershon house in September, 1800, and later in the same year he came again. These were the first Methodist services in the county. In the spring of 1801, a class was organized by James Quino, near Lexington, and in 1804 a church building was erected about a mile south of West Springfield, which was long known as the Brush Meeting-house. During the latter year, nearly a hundred persons were converted under the ministry of Rev. Andrew Hemphill. In July, 1810, nearly forty persons were awakened through the instrumentality of a powerful sermon preached by Rev. John Gruber, Presiding Elder. A second society, with fourteen members, was formed on the 7th of January, 1815, at the house of Mr. Webber, in what is now Girard, but was then a part of Springfield, which has since been known as the Fair Haven Church. This congregation divided in 1821, in consequence of a personal difficulty between two of the leaders, and twenty-one of the members formed what they styled a "Reformed Methodist Church." In 1825, a fourth society was organized in the east part of the town, which was the beginning of the church at East Springfield. The Cottage Church, which stood on the Ridge road, about half a mile west of West Springfield, was commenced in 1830, but was not finished till 1836. The present church at West Springfield was built in 1854, and the one at East Springfield about 1866. The second parsonage in eRie Conference was built at Springfield. S. Ayers and J. C. Ayers were the first pastors in 1830, and latterly E. M. Kernick, 1882-83.
The first Presbyterian edifice was a small log structure which stood on the old portion of the cemetery grounds. A preaching point was established at Springfield in 1804, by Rev. Robert Patterson, of North East, who was then the only regularly settled minister in the county, and the building referred to was put up the same year. The congregation was organized in 1806, by Rev. J. Eaton, pastor of the church at Fairview, who assumed the same relation to the Springfield Church June 30, 1808. His relation with the Springfield Church
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 757
[p. 757 graphic; p. 758 blank]
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 759
continued until November 8, 1814. The original congregation consisted of about thirty members. Isaac Miller, James Blair and James Bruce were the first Elders. The present church edifice was built in 1844, at a cost of $4,000.
The Christian Church at East Springfield was organized with twelve members in 1826 by Rev. Asa C. Morrison, and had Rev. Joseph Marsh for its first pastor. The church was built in 1839, and cost $700. A graveyard is attached to it, from which the bodies are gradually being removed to the cemetery. Elder H. Crampton is the present incumbent.
The Baptist congregation was organized in 1826, and erected a church in 1833, which cost $1,600. This building, which stood on the Ridge road, about two and a half miles west of East Springfield, was sold to the township, and a new one was erected at West Springfield in 1858, at a cost of $1,600. Rev. Asa Jacobs was the first pastor of the congregation. The old edifice is used as a Town House. The present pastor is Elder Telford, who has served the congregation for three years.
The Universalist congregation at West Springfield was organized January 10, 1848, and built a house of worship in 1850. The pastors of the congregation have been as follows: Revs. P. P. Fowler, J. S. Flagler, B. F. Hitchcock, A. J. Patterson, C. E. Shipman, I. George, H. S. Whitney, and the present incumbent, C.L. Shipman.
VILLAGES.The village of East Springfield occupies a high and beautiful site along the Ridge road, three miles south from the lake, two and a half from North Springfield, on the Lake Shore Railroad, one and a half west of Cross's Station, on the Erie & Pittsburgh Railroad, four and a half southwest of Miles Grove, five west of Girard, and twenty-one by common road from Erie. The country around is the best portion of the township, and the village is the largest settlement. East Springfield comprises three churches, one academy, one hotel, one general store, two groceries, one hardware store, one millinery store, one drug store, one harness shop, one tailor shop, one meat market, one wagon shop, one furniture store and undertaking establishment, one cider mill, three blacksmith shops, and about forty buildings. The population in 1880 was 102.
West Springfield has grown up at the junction of the Albion with the Ridge road, three miles east of the Ohio line, four west of Each Springfield, and twenty-five by common road from Erie. It is not as large as its sister village, but contains some neat residences and other buildings. The institutions of the place are three churches, an academy, a cheese factory, hotel, general store, tile works and two blacksmith shops. The village sustains one physician and one minister. The old cemetery has fallen pretty much into disuse and the bodies are being removed to the more attractive burial ground at East Springfield.
North Springfield has sprung up within the last thirty years o the Lake Shore Railroad, just west of the Crooked Creek embankment, about half a mile south of Lake Erie, and twenty by railroad from Erie.The railroad company have at this place a station house, two water tanks and an engine house to pump the water up from Crooked Creek. Besides these there are an academy, an old hotel building, now used as a boarding house, a general store, a grocery and a public school. The village consists of perhaps twenty buildings and sixty inhabitants. It stands mostly on a portion of the John Holliday farm.The station was established in 1852, the year the railroad was opened, ground for the purpose being given by Samuel and John Holliday.
760 HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY.
On the M. H. Gould farm, near the residence of Seymour Ware, in the valley of a branch of Turkey Run, is a famous salt spring, the water of which is so strongly impregnated with the mineral that the cattle on the place need no salting. Some sixty years ago Judge Gould drilled a well at this spot to the depth of 200 feet, but in putting the well down a fresh water spring was struck which diluted the salt water to an extent that rendered it valueless.
CONNEAUT TOWNSHIP is one of the original subdivisions of Erie County. It is the extreme southwestern township of the county, and contains 25,540 acres. The population was 631 in 1810; 1,324, in 1830; 1,746, in 1840; 1,942, in1850; 2,118, in 1860; 1,538, in 1870, and 1,545, in 1880. The decrease between 1860 and 1870 was due to the incorporation of Albion as a borough in 1861. The township is bounded on the north by Springfield and Girard, on the east by Elk Creek, on the west by Ashtabula County, Ohio, and on the south by Beaver and Spring Townships, Crawford County. Its greatest length is about eight and three-fourths miles from east to west, and its greatest width six and one-fourth from north to south. Conneaut contains the villages of Cherry Hill, Keepville, Tracy and Albion Depot, all of which have post offices except the last. The township received its title from Conneaut Creek, its principal stream. The word Conneaut is of Indian origin, signifying "snow place," from the fact that the snow used to lie longer upon the ice of Conneaut Lake, Crawford county, than anywhere else the country round.
The appraisement for 1883, gave the following results: Value of real estate, $686,536; number of cows, 574; value, $14,250; number of oxen, 16; value, $995; horses and mules, 423, value, $23,240; total value of personal property assessed, $38,485; value of trades and occupations, $8,820; amount of money at interest, $6,378. The census returns for 1880 show that there were 433 houses occupied by 453 families.
THE FIRST SETTLERS.The first settler within the bounds of the township was Jonathan Spaulding, who reached there from New York in the year 1795. Two years after the Population Company sent Col. Dunning McNair on as agent, who established his headquarters at what became known as Lexington, and with a corps of assistants surveyed the country, laid out roads, made preparations for disposing of the property. In 1798, Abiather Crane and his brother Elihu, from Connecticut, located near Col. McNair, but neither remained long, the former moving to Mill Creek in 1800, and the latter to Elk Creek in the spring of 1800. Abiather first went into Conneaut as a surveyor in 1797, but did not locate there until the ensuing year. The arrival of other pioneers was as follows: In 1800, Matthew Harrington, from Vermont; George Griffey and Andrew Cole, from Onondaga County, N. U., and Stephen Randall and his son Sheffield, from Rensselaer County, N. U.; in 1801, Robert McKee, from Cumberland County, Penn.; in 1802, Henry Ball, From Fredericksburg, Va., Patrick Kennedy, his son Royal, and William Payne from Connecticut; in 1803,
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 671
Marsena Keep and son Marsena, from Montgomery County, N. Y.; in 1804, Joel Bradish and brothers, from New York; in 1806, Lyman Jackson, from Otsego County, N. Y.; in 1810, Michael Jackson, son of Lyman, who remained but a few months, returned to New York and came back five years later. The following persons settled in the township at a later date: In 1815, George Stuntz, from Barclay County, Va., and his son E. W. Stuntz; in 1816, Medad Pomeroy, from Massachusetts, with his sons, Nathaniel, Uriah, John, Lyman, James, George and Horace, and three daughters, together with James W. and G. Spicer, from New York; in 1817, Benjamin Sawdy and Isaac Pomeroy, from Massachusetts; in 1818, David Sawdy, from Massachusetts, Abijah Barnes, from Cayuga County, N. Y., and Samuel Bradish; in1810, Noah Kidder and son Francis, Edward De Wolf and Daniel Rossiter, from New York, and Samuel Sawdy (father of David and Benjamin), with his sons John, Job and Daniel, from New Bedford, Mass.; in 1820, Rodolphus Loomis, from Chautauqua County, N. Y.; about 1824 or 1825, Harrison Parks; in 1829, Jones Lewis; in 1831, Thomas Bowman, wife and family (including Ralph), from Oneida County, N. Y.; in 1832, William Cornell and John Curtis; in 1833, Chester Morley and Andrew and Silas Morrison; in 1834, Christopher Cross, Edward Dorrence and Hiram Griffis; in 1837, Andrew Swap, Daniel Waters and Joseph Tubbs; in 1838, Isaiah and Johnson Pelton; in 1839, Marcus A. Bumpus. Among those who went in about the commencement of the century, are Bartholomew Forbes, Howard, John, Nathan, David and Charles Salsbury. Thomas Sprague, James Paul, James Whittington, Thomas Alexander, John Stuntz, Giles Badger, Ichabod Baker and Jacob Walker. A large portion of the settlers whose formers homes are not given were from New York, principally from the central counties. Henry Ball was a Captain in the war of 1812, and several of the others served against the British as privates. Jonathan Spaulding's sons, David, John and George, were born in the township, the first in 1802, the second in 1806, and the last in 1816. William Harrington, the oldest son of Matthew, was born in 1805. William Paul went into Elk Creek with Mr. Colton in 1797; returned to Connecticut, and came back about 1816. George Stuntz was a local preacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Noah Kidder and son went to Springfield in 1817, but moved to Conneaut two years after. Medad Pomeroy settled on Conneaut Creek, about a mile north of Albion, where he owned several hundred acres, extending into Elk Creek township.
The first male child was Henry Wood, born about 1798. The first female children were Ruth, daughter of Elihu Crane and wife, and Eliza, daughter of Abiather Crane and wife, who were born in the same house near Lexington, on the same day, April 20, 1799. Ruth Crane married Isaac Pomeroy, and became the mother of two sons -- Alden and Jerome -- and seven daughters. Her cousin, Eliza, became the wife of James Love, Jr., and moved to Mill Creek. The first recorded death was that of Mrs. Thomas Alexander, who expired in 1801, and was buried "at a point between two runs, about half a mile north of Albion." The oldest lady who has ever lived in the township was Mrs. Thomas Bowman, who died in the fall of 1862 aged nearly ninety-two years.
CREEKS AND BRIDGES.The chief stream of the township is Conneaut Creek, which rises below Conneautville, in Crawford County, flows in a general northerly course to the Springfield line, then turns abruptly westward, and continues into Ohio. After changing its course, it forms the boundary line between Conneaut and Springfield, the former lying on the south and the latter on the north. In Ohio, it continues westward nine miles to Kingsville, then makes another sudden bend
762 HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY.
to the east, and comes back eight miles to Conneaut, where it turns again to the north, and after a further course of about a mile empties into the lake a mile and a half from the boundary of Pennsylvania, forming Conneaut Harbor. It is the most crooked of the lake shore streams, the length from head to mouth by its windings being from seventy to seventy-five miles, which the distance by an air line is not more than twenty-five miles. The valley of the creek forms the route of the Erie & Pittsburgh Railroad through conneaut Township, and was utilized for the same purpose in laying out the old canal from Albion southward. Its length across the township is fully twelve miles. The West Branch of Conneaut Creek rises in Crawford County, near the Ohio line, runs in a general northeasterly direction through the south part of the township, and unites near Keepville, after a source of between nine and ten miles. The East Branch heads in Crawford County, below the Elk Creek line, runs past Wellsburg and Cranesville, and enters Conneaut Township a mile or so northeast of Albion. It has a length of not far from ten miles. At Wellsburg, it is joined by Frazier's Run, and at Albion by Jackson's Run. The latter takes its rise on the Conneaut and Elk Creek line, near Crawford County, flows north, then northeast, and is from four to six miles long. After receiving Jackson's Run, the East Branch continues about half a mile further, before merging with the main stream. Marsh Run heads in the west, flows eastward, and empties into the Conneaut about a mile from Albion Depot, having a length of four or five miles. The dividing ridge between the waters of the lake and the Allegheny turns to the south in Fairview Township, and follows nearly the line of Conneaut Creek into Crawford County. The frequent streams and their unusual crookedness are a source of heavy expense to the tax-payers, the number of bridges and the cost of keeping them up being undoubtedly greater than in any other township of the county. Not to name those on the branches, there are, on Conneaut Creek alone, the Law, Griffith, Porter, Perry and Salsbury bridges, along the Springfield line, and the Pomeroy, Kennedy, Silverthorn, Keepville and Spaulding within the township proper. These include the public bridges only, besides which the Erie & Pittsburgh Railroad Company have two more, known as the Sawdy and Kennedy second. All of the township bridges are built of timber with stone abutments.
The valley of Conneaut Creek from Crawford County to Springfield varies in width from a quarter of a mile to a mile, and consists of a sandy loam, which is very fertile, producing everything that can be raised along the lake shore. West of Lexington, along the Conneaut and Springfield line, there are occasional small spots of bottom land, but generally speaking the hills run almost to the water's edge. A large tract of country, in the southwest, near the Ohio and Crawford County line, still remains in forest, being owned by the Pennsylvania Lumber company. Fruits of nearly all kinds are grown readily. The price of land varies greatly, being as low as $15 an acre in some localities and as high as $65 in others.
LAND, LITIGATION AND PRE-HISTORIC REMAINS.John B. Wallace, of Philadelphia, made his home in Meadville at an early day, to act as attorney for the Holland Land company. In that capacity he located tracts in various places, among them being one of 10,000 acres in the western part of conneaut Township. This property was sold by Sheriff Wolverton, on an execution against Mr. Wallace, in 1825, and purchased by or in behalf of Stephen Girard, of Philadelphia. It was Mr. Girard's design to make extensive improvements by erecting mills, opening roads, etc., but while his agent was arranging to carry out his plans, news came in January, 1832,
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 763
of the great millionaire's death. By Mr. Girard's will, the Conneaut lands, with a large quantity of others, were left in trust to the city of Philadelphia on a perpetual fund for the maintenance of a college for orphans. After the death of Mr. Wallace, in 1833, his heirs claimed that the Conneaut lands had been wrongfully sold, because the title was in Mrs. Wallace, instead of her husband. Suit was brought by Judge Thompson and Benjamin Grant in the name of the Wallace heirs to recover the property, when a verdict was rendered for the plaintiffs. The Moravian grant embraced between 400 and 500 acres in the northwestern corner of Conneaut, extending over from Springfield, where the most of the "Hospitality tract" lay.
On the John Pomeroy place, upon the second flat of Conneaut Creek, are the traces of an ancient mound, such as exist in Girard, Springfield, Harbor Creek, Fairview, Wayne, and other townships of the county. It is circular in form, inclosing about three-fourths of an acre. The embankment, when the country was cleared up, was about three feet high by six feet thick at the base, with large trees growing upon it. One of these trees, a mammoth oak, when cut down, indicated by its rings an age of five hundred years. Beneath the tree the skeleton of a human being was taken up which showed to a verity that giants lived in those remote ages. The bones measured eleven feet from head to foot, the jawbone easily covered that of a man who weighed over 200 pounds, and the lower bone of the leg, being compared with that of a person who was six fee four inches in height, was found to be nearly a foot longer. Another circle of a similar character existed on the Taylor farm -- now owned by J. L. Strong. On the John Pomeroy place is also a peculiar mound, about 100 feet long, 50 wide and 24 high. It stands on the south side of a small stream, upon flat land, and is wholly detached from the adjacent bluff.
RAILROAD, CANAL AND COMMON ROADS.The Erie & Pittsburgh Railroad, the only one in the township, runs through its whole width from Girard Township on the north to Crawford County on the south. The ridge between Crooked and Conneaut Creeks is overcome by a deep excavation that is usually known as Sawdy's Cut. After that the road follows the valley of the latter stream through the township to its head in Crawford County. The road crosses the creak twice within Conneaut Township, first by the Sawdy bridge, and second by the Kennedy bridge near Algion. The Sawdy bridge has a span of about 100 feet and a fill of about fifty or sixty rods; the one near Albion, a span of equal length and a trestle work of some twenty rods. Albion depot is the main station of the township. The Pennsylvania Erie Canal -- now one of the things of the past -- entered Conneaut from Elk Creek at a point between Cranesville and Albion, and continued south by nearly the same route as the railroad, but at a higher elevation. The once noted Eleven Mile Level, the longest on its line, reached from near Lockport, through Albion, to Spring Corners, Crawford County. North of Albion, the canal crossed the East Branch by a culvert forty-one feet high, with a span of between thirty and forty feet, which still stands and is used as a roadway.The main avenues of the township are the Lexington road, from the latter place to Girard, opened about 1797; the State road across the north part of the township, from Elk Creek to Ohio; the Meadville road, from Lexington into Crawford County; the Albion and Cranesville road; the Albion and Wellsburg road; the road from Albion due west to Conneaut Center; the Albion & Keepville; "Porky street," from Cherry Hill south; and the Creek road from Pomeroy's bridge to Crawford County.
764 HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY.
Schools, Mills and Burial Places No record remains of the earliest schools in the township. A winter school was held in a cabin on the farm of Nathaniel Pomeroy, about one and a half miles southwest from Albion about 1822, by Rodolphus Loomis. Anna Randall taught a summer term at the same place. About 1823, a log schoolhouse was built in that neighborhood, at which Mary Randall and John Spaulding were early teachers. A school near the site of Thornton's grist mill in Albion Borough was taught by Sophia Kennedy. Other taught here, and the schoolhouse burned down about 1824. Among other early teachers at Albion, was David Powell, whose parents were residents of Crawford County.
Following is a list of the schools of Conneaut Township: Bowman, on the old State road, in the L; Valley, on the Creek road, near Albion; Bumpus, on the Conneautville road, to the southeast; Keepville; Kidder's Corners; Harrington, on the West Branch; Cherry Hill, a little east of the village; Center, a little south of the Town House; Brown, on the State road, west of Cherry Hill; Brock, on the southwest; and Kimbell, on the Ohio line.
The manufacturing establishments of the township are Spalding's saw mill, on the West Branch; Brown's cheese factory, on the State road, east of Cherry Hill (opened May 11, 1874); Kennedy's brick yard and tile factory, near Kennedy's bridge; Robinson's blacksmith shop, and Brewster's and Case's wagon shops, near Kidder's Corners; a blacksmith shop near Albion; and a number of portable saw mills which have no permanent location. The Penn Lumber Company, about two years ago, erected a large saw mill in the extreme southwest corner of the township. The company owns 2,800 acres of land, has build a four-mile railroad track to the E. & P. Railroad, and is extensively engaged in sawing lumber, handles, etc., and shipping them to the market. Tracy is the post office name of the settlement.
There is an old graveyard at Saulsbury's bridge, where a number of early settlers are buried, and others at Keepville and on the Creek road, near Kennedy's bridge. The oldest man known to have lived in the township was the father of ex-County Commissioner Garner Palmer, who died several years ago, lacking but little of a hundred.
VILLAGES.The village of Albion Depot is on the Erie & Pittsburgh Railroad, twenty-six miles from Erie City, and a mile west from Albion Borough. It embraces, besides the depot building, a grocery and twelve or fifteen houses, most of which are occupied by employees of the railroad. Keepville consists of a post office, store, Methodist Episcopal Church, schoolhouse, cheese factory, shingle mill, and several residences, at the intersection of two roads, near Conneaut Creek, two and a half miles southwest of Albion Borough. It was named after Marsena Keep, Sr., who settled there in 1808. Keepville Wesleyan congregation was organized, with about fourteen members, in 1854, Rev. John L. Moore being the first pastor. The church building was erected the same year, at a cost of $1,500. In 1866 or 1867, a Methodist Episcopal society was organized from the Wesleyan society, and now has for its pastor Rev. Fiddler. The charge belongs to Spring Circuit, most of the appointments of which are in Crawford County. The Wesleyan society still survives, but is quite small. The cheese factory was built in 1878 by Amos K. Keep, H. Stoddard and Josiah J. Pelton, consisting $1,500. A Methodist Episcopal Church, schoolhouse, two general stores, a blacksmith shop and twenty to thirty houses constitute the village of Cherry Hill, on the State road, about half a mile south of the Springfield line, and five miles west of Albion. Porter's grist and saw
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 765
mill on Conneaut Creek, in Springfield Township, are a little north of the village. Cherry Hill stands on high ground, and the country about the village is cold, hard to work, and not very productive. The church was organized with about fifteen members, by Rev. J. W. Wilson, in 1858, and the building was erected the same year at a cost of $1,250. The society was attached to Albion Circuit till Lockport Circuit was formed, to which it now belongs. When Col. McNair established his agency for the Population Company, in 1797, he laid out a town plat of 1,600 acres, at the big bend of Conneaut Creek, near the present Springfield line, which he expected to become a place of a good deal of importance. At the suggestion of one of his surveyors, who was a Kentuckian, he gave it the title of Lexington. Roads were laid out, and, being the center of the company's operations in the west, Lexington in time became a village of no little pretension. At one period it has a store, schoolhouse, hotel, distillery, and several residences. A post office was established in 1828 with David Sawdy as Postmaster. Not a vestige of Lexington is now left. Its site is covered by the David Sawdy and L. R. Strong farms.
MISCELLANEOUS.The original line of Conneaut extended westward parallel with the southern line of Girard Township to Ohio, taking in Conneaut Creek and more than a mile of country north of that stream. This threw the whole burden of building and maintaining bridges upon Conneaut, and about 1835 she ceded the territory north of the creek to Springfield, in consideration of the latter township paying one-half of that item of expense. Springfield made a considerable gain of land, and Conneaut relieved herself from burdensome taxation.
Following is a complete list of citizens of Albion and Conneaut who have been elected to Legislative and county offices: Assembly -- David Sawdy, 1838; Humphrey A. Hills, 1858-54 (now residing at East Springfield); Orlando Logan, 1875-75. Commissioner -- Abiather Crane, 1803 to 1805; John Salsbury, 1825 to 1828; David Sawdy, 1841 to 1844; Humphrey A Hills, 1847 to 1850; Garner Palmer, 1862 to 1865, and 1869 to 1872. County Auditor -- W. J. Brockway, 1875 to 1878. Mercantile Appraiser, Liberty Salsbury, 1872. Hon. George H. Cutler lived in Conneaut Township for a time, and taught school in Albion. He moved from there to Girard, and served the county as State Senator from 1873 to 1876.
BOROUGH OF ALBION.The borough of Albion occupies an elevated site at the junction of Jackson's Run with the East Branch, near the Elk Creek line, a mile east of Albion depot, and twenty-seven miles southwest of Erie by the E. & P. Railroad. The first settlers at Albion were Thomas Alexander, Patrick Kennedy, William Pain, Ichabod Baker and Lyman Jackson. Michael Jackson, son of Lyman, who built the first saw mill, did not become a permanent resident until 1815, although he spend a few months there five years earlier. William Sherman settled at Albion in 1827, coming from Herkimer County, N. Y. He died on the 1st of February, 1883, aged seventy-eight years. Thomas Thornton came from England at an early age, and settled in Albion about 1857. Amos King built the first grist mill and Lyman Jackson taught the first school. The town was long known as Jackson's Cross Roads, and the post office name has been successively Jacksonville, Juliet and Albion. It is one mile from Albion to Cranesville and Wellsburg (the three places forming the points of an equilateral triangle),
766 HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY.
six to East Springfield, eight to Girard, six to Spring and nine to Conneautville. The canal passed through the place, and to the business that grew out of it Albion owed most of its growth. The Denio Fork and Handle Factory was located at Albion until its destruction by fire in 1878, which resulted in the removal of the business to Miles Grove. Of the prominent residents of the place, E. W. Stuntz settled there in 1815, coming from Kingsville, Ohio; Dr. J. S. Skeels, in 1848, from Spring, Crawford County; Dr. P. D. Flower, in 1855, from Harbor Creek; Dr. L. D. Davenport, in 1850, from Ellington Center, N. Y., and Jeduthan Wells, in 1857, from Wellsburg.
Albion was incorporated as a borough in 1861, taking in a section of Conneaut Township exactly a mile square. It then contained 443 inhabitants. The population in 1870 was 452, and 433 in 1880. The first borough officers were elected in March, 1861, Perry Kidder being chosen Burgess. The religious denominations are Methodist Episcopal, Disciple and Catholic.
CHURCHES.The first Methodist Episcopal Church in this vicinity stood about three-fourths of a mile west of Albion, and was built more than fifty years ago. It was occupied until about 1855, when the society was disbanded and the building removed. At Albion, a society had been formed previous to the dismemberment of the above class. It held services in the academy until about 1855, when the present church was built. It cost $2,000 and was dedicated by Rev. Calvin Kingsley. The society was a part of Springfield Circuit until 1854, when Albion Circuit was formed. It embraces the societies at Albion, Wellsburg, Cranesville and Pageville. The first pastor was I.O. Fisher in 1854-55, and latterly C. W. Foulke, 1881-82. The society now numbers about eighty members.
Catholic services have been held at Albion for many years in McGuire's hall and the Disciple meeting-house. Thirty years ago, the society was an old one. The membership includes about twenty-five families. This charge was supplied at first by priests from Crossingville, but more recently they come from Conneautville, Crawford County.
A Disciple congregation was organized in the spring of 1880 by Rev. Clarence J. Cushman. He remained in charge two years. The class is small but has a frame church edifice in process of construction.
BUSINESS, SCHOOLS AND SOCIETIES.The business establishments of the borough consist of a hotel -- the Sherman House -- three dry goods and grocery stores, two confectionery, one drug store, two hardware stores, two shoe shops, two millinery stores, two barber shops, feed store, clothing store and tailor shop, paint shop and two blacksmith shops. The Sherman House was built in 1828 by Benjamin Nois. It passed into the hands of William Sherman some time after, who continued as its proprietor some fifty years. The house is now managed by his son, Mott Sherman.
The borough contains a good two-story school building and a Masonic Hall.
Albion Lodge, No. 376, I.O. O. F., was instituted September 14, 1849, with the following eight charter members: Calvin Chaddock, William Sherman, Orsan O. Potter, John Clark, James McKendry, Ira S. Barber, Alonzo Sherman and E. E. Stone. The lodge now has a membership of fifty-two. A fire in 1851 destroyed its hall, charter and books. A second hall was erected, which also burned down on the night of February 10, 1884, together with one store. Meetings are regularly held every Saturday evening.
Western Star Lodge, No. 304, F. & A. M., was chartered December 1, 1856. Its charter members were C. W. Cross, Stephen Munger, William W.
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 767
[p. 767 blank; p. 768 graphic]
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 769
Skeels, B. H. Galpin, John Turner, James Cross, Joseph Towner, A. B. Crumb and E. Jackson. It owns the second floor of the building, built in 1874, in which the meetings are held. The lodge now numbers fifty-six members and meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month.
Albion Lodge, No. 88, Ancient Order of United Workmen, was instituted March 10, 1875, with about twenty members. Its charter officers were George Nash, P. M. W.; W. J. Brockway, M. W.; George Runyan, G. E.; S. D. Sawdy, E.; E. W. Randall, Recorder; C. C. Carter, Financier; C. S. Young, Receiver; J. M. Sherman, G.; A. H. Wells, I. W.; G. N. Sawdy, O. W. The membership is forty-nine, and regular meetings are held the second and fourth Saturdays of each month.
Albion Union, No. 101. Equitable Aid Union, was chartered with thirty-one members May 27, 1880. Its first officers were Dr. O. Logan, Chancellor; Mrs. Mary A. Sherwood, Advocate; S. A. Sanders, President; Moses Williams, Vice President; H. H. Adams, Auxiliary; B. E. Keep, Secretary; L. H. Salisbury, Treasurer; E. B. Hathaway, accountant. Mrs. S. S. Keep, Chaplain; J. H. Carpenter, Warden; Edward Froby, Sentinel; C. V. Lick, Watchman; O. P. Mosier, Conductor. The Union now contains ninety members, and meets the first and third Fridays of each month. The two last-named orders are beneficiary in their object.
The school building was erected in 1868, at a cost, inclusive of furniture and apparatus, of $7,000. Previous to that the borough school were held in the academy, built in 1838.
FACTORIES, NEWSPAPERS, ETC.The manufacturing establishments are Thornton's grist and woolen mills, Wells' oar factory, and Van Riper's horse rake and wooden ware factory. All of these use steam. The water-power, once quite good, has become unreliable since the clearing up of the country. The flouring mill was built in 1828, by Amos King, and is now owned by Joshua Thornton. The woolen mill was erected by W. H. Gray, in 1840, burned in 1876, and rebuilt in 1880 by Thomas Thornton. Its present owner is William thornton. Michael Jackson built the rake factory in 1846. It has been completely overhauled and much extended by George VanRiper & Co. The oar factory was built by Henry Salisbury and Reuben McLallen in 1859. It burned down on the 1st of March, 1868, and was rebuilt by Frank Wells the same year. Jeduthan Wells is the present owner.
A newspaper, the Erie County Enterprise, was started June 15, 1877, but failed in 1880 for want of support. Its publishers were J. W. Britton and F. J. Dumars. The Albion Blizzard, a weekly newspaper, was established by two of the young business men of Albion Borough -- E. C. Palmer and E. F. Davenport -- May 25, 1882. The first four numbers were published as a two-column folio, at which time the Post Office Department refused to allow it to pass as second-class matter. After a week or two of suspension, the Blizzard was enlarged to a quarto, June 29, 1882, and was entered properly in the mails as other newspapers. Near the close of Volume I, the outlook was that the paper must cease to exist, but the publishers made a canvass and received such encouragement that they bought a new cylinder press and enlarged their paper to a seven-column folio, issuing the first number July 12, 1883.
The borough has a general cemetery, which might be made a handsome place of burial. The appraisement for 1883 showed the following results: Value of real estate, $88,205; cows, fifty-two; value, $1,040; horses and mules, sixty-four; value, $3,825; value of trades and occupations, $6,705; money at interest, $4,997.
770 HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY.
THE first settler in Elk Creek Township was Eli Colton, father of George W. Colton, the well-known politician. He was a native of Granby, Conn., and went into the township early in 1797. In the spring of 1798 or 1899 the settlers were George Haybarger, and his brother-in-law, John Deitz, from Maryland, who were followed by their families in the succeeding fall, in charge of Arnestes Deitz, father of John. Mr.Colton married a daughter of the elder Deitz in 1800 or 1801. Mr. Haybarger changed to Mill Creek in 1810, where his descendants remain. In 1800, Elihu Crane took up the tract on which Craneville stands, where he remained until his death. He was from Connecticut, and settled in Conneaut township in the spring of 1798, from which place he changed to Elk Creek. During 1800, or a little before, numerous parties located in the township, among whom were David Randall, Daniel Akers, Mr. Odell and Mr. Harrington. In 1802, David Sherrod arrived from Susquehanna County. James McCammon, with his sons, James and Robert, came from Ireland early in the century, locating first at Philadelphia, then at Meadville, and finally in Elk Creek. A man by the name of Wallace became a resident of the township nearly at the same time. Other early settlers were Jabez Clark, Charles Scott, Maxon Randall and the Shieldses and Spragues. Among the later settlers were the following: In 1815, Daniel Winchester, from Stafford County, Conn., and Samuel Wells, with his Sons, Otis, Obed, Franklin, Samuel and Julius, from St. Albans, Vt.; in 1818, Josiah Steward; in 1824, the Stewarts, Rodgerses and Brookses from New York; in 1831, Thomas Bowman; in 1832, Levi and William Joslin, from Oneida County, N. Y.; Edmund Goodenow, from the same county; Sylvester Hubbard, from Tompkins County, N. Y.; Samuel Sherman and family, from Herkimer county, N. Y.; John Warner, from Massachusetts; and Wilson Cole, from Chautauqua county, N. Y.; in 1833, John Stafford, from Augusta, Oneida County, N. Y., and William Vorce, from Chautauqua County, in the same State; in 1834, Orange and Perley miller; in 1835, Jeremiah Crowley, a native of Ireland, and Noah Almey,; in 1836, David Smith, from Vermont; in 1838, Hiram Irish, from Vermont, and Burr L. Pulling, from Saratoga County, N. Y. The growth of the township was slow until 1830, but it filled up rapidly from that date to 1840. Samuel Sherman took up a large body of land, which he divided among his boys. In 1840, Harley Sherman, son of Samuel Sherman, opened a grocery store at Wellsburg, where he lived until his death. The forefathers of the Shermans came to America from England, in 1634, settling in New England, from which section their descendants have spread into every State of the Union.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION.The township is one of the original sixteen, and received its title from the stream of Elk Creek, several branches of which rise in its northern portion. It originally extended north to a point parallel with the south line of Fairview, and was then nearly square. In 1832, the north part was sliced off in the formation of Girard, leaving a short handle which now constitutes a part
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 771
of Franklin. When the latter township was created in 1844, another piece was taken from Elk Creek, reversing the shape of the township, and causing it to stand in its present form which is exactly that of a gothic L. The original area was 35,840 acres, which has been reduced to 20,696 acres. By the assessment of 1880, the valuation was as follows: Real estate, $464,915; horses, $371; cows, $623; oxen, $40; value of personal property, $34,044; value of trades and occupations, $10,175; money at interest, $25,582.
Elk Creek is bounded on the north by Girard and Franklin, on the east by Franklin and Washington, on the south by Cussewago Township, Crawford County, and on the west by Conneaut. The population was 288 in 1820, 562 in 1830; 1,645 in 1840, 1,535 in 1850, 1,462 in 1870, and 1,564 in 1880, inclusive of Wellsburg. The villages are Wellsburg, Cranesville and Pageville, and the post offices are Lundy's Lane (Wellsburg) and Elk Creek (Cranesville), Elk Creek Township has had but four county officials, viz.: Stephen J. Godfrey, County Commissioner from 1866 to 1869, and Mercantile Appraiser in 1871; C. C. Taylor, County Superintendent of Public Schools from 1869 to 1878; Richard Powell, County Commissioner from 1881 to 1884; and George Manton, County Auditor from 1881 to 1884. George W. Colton, Clerk to the Commissioners from 1852 to November, 1863, and Prothonotary from his resignation of the latter office in 1867, is a native of the township, but removed to Erie before he was chosen to the first position. C. H. Irish, Superintendent of Government Printing at Washington, was also a native of Elk Creek. The latter died in January, 1883, after having been prominent as a public man for many years.
The Elk Creek lands are generally rolling, with a clay soil, except a narrow belt of gravel along the East Branch of Conneaut Creek and its tributaries. The hill lands, which include about two-thirds of the township, are quite flat when the summit is reached, and are well watered, being the sources of numerous small streams. Land ranges in value from $20 to $40, according to the proximity to the villages. The township contains two cheese factories -- one at Wellsburg, and Kingsley's, in the southeast. Much timber remains, but it is fast disappearing. There is no railroad in the township, and the nearest station is that of the Erie & Pittsburgh road at Albion. A mile east of Wellsburg was a deposit of bog iron ore, from which a large share of the stock used in Vincent, Himrod & Co.'s old furnace in Erie was drawn. The ore has been used of late years in making mineral paint, being first applied to that purpose by Winton & Williams. In Glen Frazier is a mineral spring which has become famous over the western part of the county for its medical virtues.
ROADS AND STREAMS.The main thoroughfares are the road from Albion, through Wellsburg, to Edinboro; the old road from Girard, through Cranesville and Wellsburg, to Meadville; and the Crane road, from Albion, through Cranesville and Franklin Township, to the Edinboro Plank Road. A hack runs several times a day, each direction, between Wellsburg, Cranesville and Albion Station, carrying passengers and the mails. Elk Creek has no large streams, the most important one being the East Branch of Conneaut Creek, which falls into the latter about half a mile west of Albion. The East Branch rises in Crawford County, just across the line. It is joined by Frazier's Run at Wellsburg, by Crane Run near Cranesville, by Mormon Run at Thornton's dam, near Albion, and by Jackson Run within the latter borough. Mormon Run received its name because used as a place of baptism by that sect, who were once quite numerous in the vicinity. The West Branch of Elk Creek has its source near the center, and runs north
772 HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY.
into Girard, where it connects with the main stream a little below "The Devil's Backbone." In the southeast are the head-waters of the Cussewago, which pursues a southerly course, and, joining French Creek near Meadville, helps to make the Ohio and Mississippi. Forty years or so ago, there were twelve or fifteen saw mills on the East Branch, as well as several on other streams. The water-power was very fine in the early days, on account of the steady flow of water and the heavy fall in the streams.
CHURCHES.The churches of Elk Creek are a Free-Will Baptist, Methodist Episcopal and Universalist at Wellsburg, Methodist Episcopal at Cranesville, Free-Will Baptist and Methodist at Pageville, United Brethren on the Meadville road between Cranesville and Lockport, and Union United Brethren.
The Little Brick, or Randall United Brethren Church, holds services about a mile north of Cranesville, in a neat brick structure which was formerly a schoolhouse. The society was organized about 1853 by Rev. Michael Oswald. Rev. C. Z. Dilley is at present pastor in charge. The society contains about thirty members. It is embraced in the Erie Circuit, which besides the Randall appointment includes Branchville in McKean Township; Bethel, Fairview Township; Foy Schoolhouse, Franklin Township; Miller, Girard Township; and Union, in the south part of Elk Creek Township. The last named appointment is quite an old class, has about twenty members, and meets in a schoolhouse.
There is a considerable Catholic population in the south part of the township, who worship mainly at the church in Cussewago, Crawford County. They are mainly of Irish nativity or descent.
Schools Probably the first school in the township was taught by Maxon Randall, in his log cabin about a mile north of Cranesville, about 1815. About one and a half miles south of Wellsburg, stood a log schoolhouse, wherein Miss Becky Reese, who was afterward Mrs. William Monroe, taught about 1817. Samuel Clark, the son of an early settler of this township, held a school in the same cabin about 1818, and following him, David Mathews conducted a term. Immediately south of Wellsburg a Mr. Higgins, an old bachelor, taught about 1820. The Sawdy Schoolhouse, in the northwest corner of the Township, was built about 1823, and for many years subserved its educational purposes. Henry Miller, one of the first settlers, taught here. Betsy Colton, who became Mrs. Hiram Bradley, and Zachariah Tolbit were other early instructors at Sawdy. At Cranesville, on the corner now occupied by the post office, was a diminutive log structure in early days, where Matilda Eldridge and John Braddish were among the first teachers. The following is a list of the present schools: Sawdy, two miles north of Cranesville, on the Lockport road; Wellsburg (graded), Cranesville, Bowens, one mile from Cranesville, on the Crane road; Kingsley, a mile and a half south of Wellsburg, on the Meadville road; Union at Cold Spring, three miles south of Wellsburg, on the Meadville road; Pleasant Valley, two miles east of Wellsburg; Pageville, Miller, six miles east of Wellsburg, and an independent school of Elk Creek and Franklin Townships.
WELLSBURG.The village of Wellsburg, in the narrow valley of the East Branch of Conneaut Creek, is situated at the crossing of the Girard & Meadville by the
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 773
Albion & Edinboro road. Samuel Wells after whom it was named, settled at this point with his five sons in 1815, and at an early day his son Franklin built a grist mill and several saw mills. Samuel drilled a salt well about a mile south of Wellsburg, on the Clark farm, and for a considerable period the neighborhood was supplied by him with a home made article. This continued until the opening of the canal, which caused the abandonment of the well. The village, which was laid out by Otis Wells, did not make much progress until some six or ten years ago, when a brisk competition among the merchants led to low prices, a heavy trade fro the adjacent country, new manufactories, and a general and most marked spirit of enterprise. Wellsburg is twenty-five miles from Erie, nine miles south of Girard, one each from Cranesville and Albion, and two miles from Albion Station. The mercantile establishments consist of three dry goods stores, one grocery and hardware store and one millinery store. A new schoolhouse was erected about two years ago, at a cost of over $5,000. The McLellan House is a large new hotel. The manufacturing interests of the village are unusually extensive, as will be seen by the following list: Long, Wells & Co's., new steam and flouring mill, the old Spires Grist Mill, Wells & Sons' tannery, Ralph Bowman's steam saw mill, J. R. Snyder's steam furniture and coffin factory, Frank Ziegler's broom factory, the Elk Creek Co-operative Cheese factory (in operation about eleven years), Emanuel Ziegler's carriage, wagon and blacksmith shop, Purcell Bros'. spring bed factory, one cooper shop and two other blacksmith shops. Its population by the census of 1880 was 256, about half of whom have been added within a few years. Wellsburg has become the principal trading point for most of Elk Creek, a portion of Conneaut, the western portion of Franklin, the southern portion of Girard and even a section of Crawford County. Its post office name is Lundy's Lane. The office was established in 1852, when Gen. Scott was running for President, and named in honor of one of his battles during the last war with Great Britain. A telephone line connecting Wellsburg with Albion Station was put up in 1879. In addition to the salt well of Samuel Wells, another was drilled further up on the East Branch, on the farm now owned by S. A. Deriar. It was known as the White Well, but was never put in operation. On the same tract there had long been a strong show of petroleum. Boring was done to secure the oil, but only a small quantity was obtained. In 1861, during the height of the oil excitement, two wells were drilled on the farm of Harley Sherman, east of Wellsburg. A large yield of gas was secured but not enough oil to pay.
The free-Will Baptist congregation, the largest in the town, was organized on the 5th of May, 1839, Rev. Willard Stickney, of Washington Township, being the first pastor, and Asa Litchfield, clerk. Its later pastors have been Revs. Frank Wells, David Winton, Chauncey Joslin, E. R. Anderson, Rufus Clark, J. B. Page and Rev. Boynton, the present incumbent. Julius Wells and John W. Prescott were the first and only Deacons. The congregation has a commodious building, surmounted by a steeple and bell tower with a fine bell. A Sabbath school was established over thirty years ago, and has been in continuous operation. The membership of the church in about forty.
The Universalist Church at Wellsburg was organized in June, 1838, with twenty-five members by Rev. Edson Beals, who was the first pastor. The first meetings were held in the academy, which stood in the park on the site of the Universalist Church. The latter was erected in 1855 at a cost of $1,500, and was thoroughly repaired in 1871. Rev. A. J. Patterson, now of Boston, Mass., was pastor at the time of the church erection. After the pastorate of
774 HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY.
Rev. Beals, the following served as ministers: Revs. Joseph Sargent, Ami Bond, Fowler, A. J. Patterson, Luce and Charles L. Shipman, of Girard. No regular services have been held for two years past. The numerical strength of the church is about sixty.
A Methodist Episcopal society was organized at Wellsburg in very early times. About 1835, it erected frame meeting house on the summit of the hill between Wellsburg and Cranesville, the lot being the donation of Lyman Jackson. Formerly services had been held in an old blacksmith shop, converted into a schoolhouse and church. The church building became old and unfit for services. In 1875, or shortly before the society divided, a portion going to Cranesville and a portion to Wellsburg, the latter held services for a short time in the schoolhouse; then the Pleasant Valley Church building, several miles south of Wellsburg, was removed to the latter village, and is now used as the house of worship. Pleasant Valley was an old society organized in 1833, by Rev. William Todd. Its church edifice was erected in 1854, at an expense of $1,300. Wellsburg Church is small, containing about twenty members. It formerly was a part of Springfield Circuit, but when Albion Circuit was formed, became and has since remained a part of it.
The Wellsburg Cemetery, an inclosure of about ten acres, on a knoll in the north part of the village, is the principal burying ground of the township. The Shermans have a family burial place of about two acres.
CRANESVILLE.Cranesville was founded by Fowler Crane, son of Elihu Crane, the first settler on the site, who laid out the village, and put up a hotel, store and ashery. In lies in the valley of the East Branch of Conneaut Creek, a mile north of Wellsburg, and a mile northeast of Albion, at the crossing of the Crane road by the Girard & Meadville road, and almost on the Conneaut line. The valley at Cranesville widens out more than at Wellsburg, and the village stands chiefly on the upland overlooking the stream, in rather a pleasant location. The old Erie Canal passed through the village, and is watered by Crane Run. It entered Elk Creek Township a little south of Lockport, and about half a mile east of the Conneaut Township line, and continued to Cranesville, where it diverged into Conneaut, having had a course of about two and one-half miles in the township. The culvert between Albion and Cranesville, by which the canal crossed the East Branch -- an excellent of pile of masonry -- is now used for a township roadway. After Wellsburg got its start and the canal had been abandoned, Cranesville rather declined, but of late it has commenced to improve. The village embraces a Methodist Episcopal Church, one general store, one grocery, Robert Wait's planing mill, two blacksmith shops, paint shop, schoolhouse, about thirty-five dwellings and perhaps 150 people. The church building was erected at a cost of $2,000, in 1874, Rev. Mr. Williams being the first pastor. About the same time the old church that stood on the hill between Cranesville and Wellsburg was removed to Springfield. Cranesville society was detached from Wellsburg about 1874, and belongs to Albion Circuit. The old hotel was torn down in the summer of 1878, more attractive houses at Wellsburg and Albion having robbed it of its custom. A sandstone quarry was formerly worked between Cranesville and Lockport, near the Population road, from which material was taken for the locks of the canal. The post office name of Cranesville is Elk Creek. Its nearest railroad station is Albion.
PAGEVILLE.Four miles southeast of Wellsburg, at the forks of the Crossingville road,
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 775
is the village of Pageville, consisting of a Free-Will Baptist Church, a schoolhouse, a saw mill, and a few scattered dwellings. This remote place was one the scene of extensive manufacturing operations. Being on the edge of a vast forest of ash and oak, E. Page selected it as the site of his oar factory, one of the most extensive in the country. The factory gave employment to some twenty-five men and its wares were sent to all parts of America and Europe. On its suspension the workmen found other homes, and the place declined to an ordinary cross roads collection of houses. The Baptist congregation was organized by Rev. Willard Stickney, the first pastor, in 1839, the same year as the one at Wellsburg. Rev. Carey Rogers preached here for many years, and Rev. Boynton is the present pastor. services were held in the schoolhouse until 1875, when a church was erected at a cost of about $1,200. Rogers' steam saw mill occupies the site of the old oar factory. A Methodist Episcopal society worships in the Baptist Church. It is small, but quite old, and is attached to Albion Circuit.
(pages 775-834 not yet fully transcribed)
[ 835 ]
836 HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY.
Girard Township is bounded on the north by Lake Erie, on the east by Fairview and Franklin, on the south by Conneaut and Elk Creek, and on the west by Springfield. In the widest part, it is six and a quarter miles from east to west, by seven and three-eights from north to south. The population was 2,060 in 1840, 2,443 in 1850, 2,453 in 1860, 2,018 in 1870, 2,338 in 1880, inclusive of Miles Grove and West Girard, and 1,732 exclusive of these villages. The only post office is Miles Grove. Most of the trading is done in the latter place and Girard Borough.
The United States census of 1880, Jacob Bender enumerator, gave the following results: With the exception of one person, a mulatto, the population is all white. In sex it is singularly evenly divided, there being 1,168 males against 1,170 females.
The acreage in tilled land is 13,845; permanent meadows, pasture, orchards, etc., 2,920; woodland and forest, 3,582; total, 20,347 acres. The principal crops are wheat, oats, barley, corn, buckwheat and potatoes. Total value of farm productions of all kinds, $217,080, divided among 240 farms.
The appraisement of 1883 gave the following results: Value of real estate, $1,354,587; of personal property, $47,523; money at interest, $51,355.
EARLY SETTLERS.The first settlers within the limits of the township were William Silverthorn and his son, Capt. Abraham Silverthorn, who came in 1798 from Fayette County. About 1799, Robert Brown, of Northumberland County, located at the mouth of Elk Creek, but in 1804 he moved to Weigleville, and from there to Erie. He was the father of William A. Brown and Mrs. George A. Eliot, of Erie City. These parties were followed in 1800 by Robert Porter, Isaac Miller and John Kelley. Mr. Kelley, who was from Mifflin County, moved to West Mill Creek in 1802, and died there the next year. In 1801, Jacob Coffman came from Somerset County, and located on the site of Lockport; and about the same time Patrick Ward settled on the Lake road. Mr. Coffman, who was from Somerset County, was accompanied by his four sons. Conrad, one of the boys, went back to Somerset County about 1814, married there, and did not return until 1836, when his son J. C. was a young man of seventeen. The family were intimate in Somerset County with the famous Judge Jeremiah S. Black. William and Samuel McClelland and William Crane, natives of Ireland, took up lands in the northeast part of the township in 1802; John Miller, from Fayette County, and George Kelley, from Mifflin County, in 1803; Joel Bradish and brothers, from Saratoga County, N. Y., and James Blair, from Fayette County, Penn., in 1804; Martin Taylor, from Chautauqua County, N. Y., in 1813; William Webber, from Genesee County, N. Y., in 1814; Cornelius Haggerty, in 1815; Samuel Jenner and his son Peach, from Vermont, Justus Osborn and his son Philip, from Fredonia, N. Y., Abner Boder, from Connecticut, and Scott Keith and wife, from Pittsford, Vt., in 1816; Elijah Drury, from Genesee County, N. Y., in 1817; Ethan Loveridge and Nathan Sherman, from Oneida County, N. Y., in 1818; Joseph Long, from Massachusetts, in 1825; Matthew Anderson, from Chenango County, N. Y., in 1830; George Traut, from Columbia county, N. Y., in 1831; James Miles, from Union Township, and Titus Pettibone, from Wyoming County, N. Y., in 1832; and William Kirkland, in 1833. Among other early settlers, the date of whose arrival is not ascertained, were Messrs. Taggart, Pickett, Badger, Martin, Wells, Clark, Laughlin and Wolverton. The last four were the earliest who located on the site of Girard Borough, Mr. Wells having owned most of the land embraced within the corporate limits. James Silverthorn located
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 837
[p. 837 graphic; p. 838 blank]
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 839
among the first, and Thomas Miles about 1801. John Ralph kept a sort of tavern at the mouth of Elk Creek in 1804. John R. Ward was the first male child, and the late Mrs. George A. Eliot, of Erie, the first female child born in the township. The country does not appear to have been cleared up very rapidly, as, according to Mr. Long, there was no road along Elk Creek when he reached there in 1825. The remains of William Miles and those of his wife and oldest son Frederick are interred in the family graveyard, north of Miles Grove. The old gentleman resided with his son James, near the mouth of Elk Creek, from 1841, the year of his wife's death, until his own demise in 1846. Girard Township can claim the honor of having had the second oldest person in the county -- Patrick Ward, who died at the age of one hundred and five. When one hundred and three years old, he walked from his residence to Girard (three miles), for the purpose of voting.
LANDS AND ROADS.It is a common remark that the land between Walnut Creek, in Fairview, and Crooked Creek, in Springfield, is the best along Lake Erie, and of this choice section Girard Township is claimed by its citizens to be the very cream. The lake plain is from three to four miles wide, running back by a succession of steps which give a pleasing variety to the country. Near the lake the soil is sandy, both on the ridge it becomes gravelly, and is very productive. Back of Girard Borough the land continues to rise, is much broken, and, except along Elk and Crooked Creeks, where there are some fine valley farms, is better adapted to grazing than grain, though this is to be stated with some notable exceptions. The whole township is a splendid fruit country, and many acres have been planted to grapes and strawberries. The strawberry crop is to Girard what the grape crop is to North East, vast quantities being raised annually and shipped to all points of the compass. The farm improvements will average better than any other part of the lake shore, and the taste shown in some instances would be creditable to any locality. Land is valued at from $100 to $125 per acre along the Ridge road, from $60 to $100 along the Lake road, and from $35 to $60 in the south part of the township. During the construction of the canal, there was a sandstone quarry -- novelty for Erie County -- at Elisha Smith's east of Girard Borough, from which a quantity of stone was taken for the locks of the canal.
The main thoroughfares of Girard Township are the Lake road, the Ridge road -- both running direct to Erie -- the two roads between Miles Grove and the borough, the road through Lockport and Cranesville to Meadville, and the Lexington road into Conneaut Township. The Ridge and Lake roads are thickly settled, and the first named especially is unquestionably the finest in the county, having a fine row of shade trees on both sides almost the entire distance from Girard to Fairview. The stage company had extensive stables at West Girard, which were burned in January, 1832, with the loss of fifteen out of sixteen horses. After the opening of the railroad in 1852, few persons cared to travel by coach, and the state line was soon abandoned.
RAILROADS AND CANAL.The Lake Shore Railroad traverses the whole township from east to west, crossing Elk Creek a short distance west of Miles Grove. The old wooden viaduct over this stream, built for the use of the railroad in 1852, was 115 feet high and 1,400 feet long. It was replaced in 1858 with a splendid culvert and extensive filling. The only station of this road is at Miles Grove, or Girard Station as it is more generally known to travelers. The Erie & Pittsburgh
840 HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY.
Railroad intersects the Lake Shore almost a mile west of Miles Grove, and runs southward across the township, parallel to and not far from the Springfield line. Aside from Miles Grove, it has but a single station in the township, the one known as Cross's, at the north end of Crooked Creek bridge, a long and uncomfortable looking piece of trestle work. This station is the depot for the village of East Springfield, from which it is a mile and a half distant. The railroad office is the only building at the station. Judge Cross, of Springfield, from whom it received it name, once lived there, and still owns 800 acres of land in the vicinity. The New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad traverses the entire width of the township from east to west, crossing the Elk Creek Valley by a splendid iron bridge, within sight from Girard Borough. Its station is between the borough and Miles Grove, a little east of the latter place. The old Erie Canal entered Girard on the east from Fairview, along the foot of the first rise, cut through the ridge to Elk Creek, crossed that stream by an aqueduct ninety-six feet above the water, and 500 long, and followed the valley of the Lockport Branch southward.
STREAMS, ETC.The chief stream of Girard is Elk Creek, which comes in from Fairview, flows nearly through the center of the township from east to northwest, and empties into the lake about a mile and a quarter beyond Miles Grove, after a length of thirty to thirty-five miles. The West Branch rises in Elk Creek Township, runs north eight or ten miles and unites with the main stream near the Fairview line. Hall's Run flows through Lockport and falls in a little south of Girard Borough. Brandy Run heads in Fairview Township, about a mile further south; and Spring Run west of Miles Grove -- each of them being of sufficient size to furnish water-power for one or two mills. The valley of the chief stream is narrow and precipitous in the eastern portion of the township, but further west it widens out, with steep, but beautiful bluffs on both sides. At the junction of the West Branch there is a high peak, resembling part of a Roman profile, with its base at the water's edge, which has received the peculiar title of "The Devil's Backbone." The West Branch runs along the base of an almost perpendicular hill for a quarter of a mile, then rounds the bluff and comes back to a point opposite the one which it left, forming a sort of a loop. At the narrowest place, the crest or backbone is not more than two feet across, and the height being over a 100 feet, it is a severe test of a person's nerves to walk along the lofty pathway. The spot is a favorite resort of the people for miles around. Not far from the "Devil's Backbone" is the fruit farm of Asa Battles, which contains 6,000 apple, 1,000 peach, 600 or 700 pear and many quince trees, besides fourteen acres of strawberries and five or six of grapes. The other streams of the township are Crooked Creek and several rivulets flowing into the lake in the northeast. Crooked Creek rises near Lockport, runs through the southwestern portion of Girard and the northeastern of Springfield, and empties into Lake Erie about three-fourths of a mile beyond the village of North Springfield. It has a course of about ten miles and there are some good lands in its valley.
MOUTH OF ELK CREEK.The mouth of Elk Creek figured extensively in the early plans of internal improvement, as well as in the courts of the county and State. When the canal was under discussion, there was a bitter strife as to the adoption of the
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 841
eastern route by way of Waterford, or the western one by way of Girard. The Legislature, at length, by recommendation of the chief engineer in charge, adopted the western route. Next came a dispute as to whether the terminus of the canal should be at Erie or at the mouth of Elk Creek, which was finally settled in favor of the former. On the third of March, 1837, pending the discussion of the proper terminus, a contract was entered into between James Miles, of Girard, Thaddeus Stevens, then a member of Gov. Rigner's "Kitchen Cabinet," and Charles Ogle, a Congressman from this State, looking to the building of a city at the mouth of the creek. Miles was to dispose of 200 acres of land on both sides of the stream to Stevens and Ogle, in consideration of $5,000, on the 1st of August ensuing, and $95,000 from the sale of lots, while Stevens was to work for the adoption of the site as the terminus of the canal, and Ogle was to obtain an appropriation from Congress for the improvement of the harbor. The project failing, Miles sued Stevens and Ogle for the $5,000. The case was carried to the Supreme Court and decided in favor of the defendants. Some very curious testimony came out in the course of the trial. While the country was being cleared, the mouth of the creek was considerable of a shipping place for staves and lumber. A warehouse formerly stood on the lake shore for the convenience of trade. The water in the creek is probably deep enough at its mouth to float any sailing vessel, but there is a wide bar in the lake, which will effectually prevent its use as a harbor until removed, which can only be done by a heavy expenditure of money. Quite a fishery is maintained there, and hundreds of barrels of fish are put up for shipment. A limekiln has also has been maintained for some years, receiving its stone from Kelly's Island.
MILLS AND CHURCHES.The mills and factories of the township -- not naming for the present those of Girard Borough, Lockport and Miles Grove -- are as follows: On Elk Creek -- Strickland & Nason's grist mill, at the mouth of Spring Run; the West Girard Grist, Saw, Cider and Plaster Mills, and a planing mill at the same place. On Spring Run, T. Thornton's woolen mill and Brown Bros.; hand rake factory and cider mill. A grist mill is said to have been established on this stream by Mr. Silverthorn, as early as 1799, being one of the first in the county. On the West Branch, Pettis' saw mill; on Brandy Run, Rossiter's tannery; on one of the lake streams, Herrick's and Godfrey's saw mills. All of the above are run by water, but in some cases steam is also employed in the dry season. Pettibone & Morehouse have a limekiln on the lake road north of Girard. The first mill on Elk Creek, within Girard Township, was built at Wet Girard in 1814, by Peter Wolverton, and was owned successively by Dr. Rufus Hills, James C. Marshall and his brother-in-law, Addison Weatherbee, George Rowley, L. S. Wright, Loomis & Horton and W. C. Culbertson. During Mr. Rowley's term, the mill burned down and was rebuilt.
The churches of the township are as follows: Methodist Episcopal, at Fair Haven, on the Lexington road, in the southwest part of the township; organized originally, January 7, 1815, at the house of Mr. Webber, and reorganized by Rev. A. Hall in 1860; building erected in 1861, at a cost of $3,000. Prior to its attachment to the Lockport Circuit, this charge was an appointment with the church at Girard. Another of the same denomination at Fairplain, upon the farm of C. Ziesenheim, on the Lake road, organized by Rev. J. H. Whallon, its first pastor, in 1840; building erected in 1841 at a cost of $800. Until quite recently, this congregation was served by the pastors from Girard. It is now connected with Fairview Circuit.
842 HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY.
Church of the United Brethren on the State road, near the Elk Creek Township line; organized in 1870 by Rev. D. Sprinkle, its first pastor; building cost $1,700.
The cemetery at Girard is the common burial place of the township, but a number of small graveyards occur in various sections.
SCHOOLS AND MOUNDS.The schools are fifteen in number, as follows: Fairplain, on Lake road east; Clark's, on Lake road, farther west; Miles' near railroad junction; Cudney, on Ridge road west; Robertson, on Ridge road west; West Girard, in that village; Girard Station, at Miles Grove; Osborne, on Ridge road east; McClelland, two miles southeast of Girard Borough; Porter Bridge, one mile south of West Girard; Anderson, on Lexington road; Fair Haven, on same road further south; Blair, on Creek road three miles south of Girard Borough; Miller, on Old State road near Lockport; South Hill. Besides these there is a Union School on the Franklin Line, occupied jointly by that and Girard Township. Among some of the early schools of the township were the following: A log schoolhouse stood in the southwestern part of the township, in which school was taught in 1819 or 1820 by Miles Bristol. This schoolhouse was destroyed by fire and another erected in the same locality. Fifty years ago, there stood a log schoolhouse about three-quarters of a mile south of the village of Lockport. About 1822, a school was taught in a frame building that stood on the Ridge road at the foot of the Girard Hill, by Nancy Kelly. Another school was held in a private house, situated one mile east of Girard, taught in about 1823 by Desdemona Fuller.
Southeast of Girard Borough, the remains of an ancient mound are or were lately to be seen, which was one of a chain of four, extending in a southwesterly direction through East Springfield toward Conneaut Creek. These mounds are exactly alike, consisting of high, round earthwork inclosing a space of about three-fourths of an acre, with apertures at regular intervals. Similar ruins are to be found in Conneaut, Harbor Creek, Wayne and Concord Townships. On a hill between Girard and Lockport was an Indian burial ground. In 1882, the bones of a mastodon were plowed up on the farm of W. H. Palmer, many of which were in an excellent state of preservation. The size of the animal was estimated to have been fifteen feet long, exclusive of tusks, and about thirteen feet high.
MILES GROVE.The pretty and growing village of Miles Grove, or Girard Station, as it is known to the traveling public, is situated on the Lake Shore Railroad, a little over a mile east of the intersection of the Erie & Pittsburgh, one and three-quarter miles north of Girard, fifteen and a half west of Erie and eighty east of Cleveland. It is four and a half miles from the depot to Fairview Station, five to Fairview Borough, six to Lockport, five to East springfield, four to North Springfield, ten to Cranesville, eleven to Wellsburg, eleven and a half to Albion and twelve to Franklin. The population of the village by the census of 1880 was 471. The site of Miles Grove is one of the most suitable for a town in Erie County. The country is extremely fine and closely settled -- so close, indeed, between there and Girard that it will not be many years till they are one town. The place was named after Judge Miles, who influenced the erection of the depot, the ground for which was given by Austin H. Seeley, who laid out the lots. It grew slowly for some years, but received a new impetus by the completion of the Erie & Pittsburg road, which
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 843
caused it to be made a general stopping place for the trains. Another start was given to it by the location of A. Denio's fork and agricultural works, which furnish employment to about seventy persons. These works -- now known as the Otsego Fork Mills -- were brought to Mile Grove, part in 1874, and the balance in 1876, the citizens subscribing $5,000 to $5,000 to induce their removal. This important industry was established at Albion thirty years ago. The handle department burned down in the year of 1873, when the entire business was transferred to Miles Grove, where a part of it was already in operation. The village contains, besides a good many fine residences, an Episcopal and a Methodist Episcopal Church, a fine schoolhouse, with three teachers, an iron foundry, a hotel -- built by A. M. Osborn in the spring of 1865 -- five or six stores, an express office, two shoe shops and two blacksmith shops. The Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1867. It is used in part by the Presbyterians, according to a condition in the subscription paper. James Sampson donated the land on which the building stands. The Methodist Episcopal Congregation has belonged to Girard charge ever since its organization.
The Episcopal Church was erected in 1877 (mainly with a sum of money left by Mrs. Bell, a daughter of Judge Miles) on a tract of land donated by J. Robert Hall, agent of the latter's estate. The first services of this congregation were held in 1860, but no regular rector served the church until 1862. Rev. E. D. Irvine has been rector since June, 1877. The Lake Shore Railroad Company has valuable improvements at Miles Grove. These are a fine depot building, with tasteful parks east and west of it, a freight house, two water tanks, an engine house with four stalls, a turn-table and an extensive truck yard for shifting freight trains. An enormous business is done in shipping potatoes, in which Girard and Fairview Townships are very fruitful, and great quantities of coal are sold from the line of the E. & P. Railroad. The home of the Miles family, in the hollow of Elk Creek, near its mouth, about a mile north of west from Miles Grove, is a stately brick mansion. When Judge Miles died, he owned 1,600 acres in one body, extending two miles or more along the lake. He was born in Northumberland County February 16, 1792, and died March 27, 1868. For seventy or eighty years there has been an eagle's nest on the farm of Riley Pettibone, half a mile north of Miles Grove. It was there when the country was cleared, and has not changed its position, except that the original trees were blown down, and others near by were chosen. Occasionally young eagles are captured, caged, and preserved as curiosities.
WEST GIRARD.The ancient village of West Girard is in the valley of Elk Creek, after which it was originally named, mostly on the west bank of the stream, about half a mile from the borough of Girard. It was rather an important place in early days, being the site of one of the stage company's extensive stables, and a changing place for their teams. The village then boasted a number of stores, four taverns, two tanneries, an oil mill, distillery, and several smaller establishments, all of which were allowed to run down. It received its worst blow by the building of the canal on the opposite side of the creek, which caused a transfer of the business to the present borough. Its principal establishments now are a large grist mill, a planing mill and sash and blind factory, a saw mill, a plaster mill and a brickyard. The village contains a schoolhouse, about thirty houses, and 135 inhabitants. An iron bridge over Elk Creek marks the site of two or three wooden structures which have been washed away by the destructive floods of that stream.
844 HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY.
BOROUGH OF GIRARD.In the year 1814, at the close of the war with Great Britain, the site of Girard Borough was partly included in the farm of John Taylor, whose log house was the only building there. At a later date, the land was owned by Daniel Sayre, Sr., who purchased from Mr. Taylor. Mr. Sayre sold to Joseph Wells, who erected the first frame building within the borough limits. The original town was on the other side of the creek, now known as West Girard. When the canal was located on the east side of the stream, several far-seeing parties commenced building on the present site, and it was not long until a town was laid out. The name of Girard was given to it in honor of the township of which it became -- so to speak -- the capital and center of trade. The first buildings in the village were near the canal, and the first tavern occupied a site a little west of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1846, the village was incorporated as a borough. Its first officers were: Burgess Mason Kellogg; Council, John McClure, Jr., Leffert Hart, H. McConnell, George H. Cutler; Clerk, L. S. Jones. The corporation covers 250 acres. The United States census gave Girard a population of 400 in 1850, 616 in 1860, 704 in 1870, and 703 in 1880. The assessment for 1883 gave the following results: Value of real estate, $247,453; cows, 39; value, $1,380; horses and mules, 73; value, $6,110; personal property, $7,490; value of trades and occupations, $60,255; money at interest, $11,377.
Girard occupies a pleasant site along the Ridge road, which constitutes its Main street, on high ground overlooking the lake shore plain and the lovely valley of Elk Creek, sixteen miles west by public road from Erie, ten east from the Ohio line, two and a half south of the lake, and one and three-quarters from the railroad station at Miles Grove, with which it is connected by the old depot road and Rice avenue. The latter thoroughfare, which was projected by Dan Rice while in the height of his prosperity, was opened in the winter of 1867-68, and is well built up, giving a stranger the idea of a continuous town. A charter for a street railroad on this fine avenue was procured some years ago, but the enterprise was never carried to completion. The old road is also rather closely built up, and both thoroughfares are among the most pleasant in the county. The Erie Canal passed through the borough by a deep cut, and two venerable warehouses still stand upon its banks, showing that a large trade was done there through the medium of that improvement. The town occupies the second rise above the lake shore plain, in the midst of one of the most beautiful and productive countries in the Union. It contains every variety of stores incident to a community of the size, has many delightful residences, especially along the east end of the main street, which is finely shaded, and does an extensive trade with the farming region around.
CHURCHES, SCHOOLS ETC.The borough numbers among its public institutions Presbyterian, Methodist Episcopal, Catholic, Universalist and German Lutheran Churches. The Methodist Church, which has few superiors in the county for beauty of architecture and elegance of finish, was erected in 1868 at a cost of $30,000. The congregation was organized in 1815, by Rev. Ira Eddy, its first pastor, and built it first edifice in 1828. For many years the appointment was a portion of the Springfield Circuit.
The Presbyterian Church is a substantial brick building erected in 1835, to which an old graveyard is attached. Its congregation was organized
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 845
May 16, 1835, by Rev. Pierce Chamberlain, the first Elders being Robert Porter and Philip Bristol. It was at first supplied by Rev. Edson Hart, who was stationed at Springfield. The present pastor, Rev. W. R. Moore, assumed the pastorate of the church in 1871.
St. John's Catholic congregation was organized about the year 1858, and soon thereafter put up a church building. The congregation was attended by visiting priests for a number of years. Rev. Father F. Riordy has served this charge in connection with the one at North East since July, 1870.
The Universalist society was organized some years previous to 1852, and in that year erected their present church building; the pastor of this church since 1864 has been Rev. C. L. Shipman; his predecessor was Rev. S. P. Carrolton; Revs. E. Wood and C. B. Lombard has preceded Mr. Carrolton.
St. Johannis congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized in 1866, and subsequently purchased the church building occupied by the Methodist Episcopal society prior to the erection of their present building in 1868. The pulpit of the church was filled for periods by the pastors of the church of this denomination in Erie. For some years past, this congregation and the one in Fairview Township have been under one pastorate. Rev. Gavehling has been pastor of both these charges for the past four years.
The Girard Cemetery, one of the handsomest burial grounds in the county, is a tract of ten acres, neatly inclosed, laid out in walks and containing many costly monuments. The organization was charged in Marcy, 1861, and the property was laid out the same year.
The Girard Academy was built by subscription in 1850, and opened in 1851, with 150 pupils. It had a students' boarding house attached, and for awhile was very successful. The property was transferred to the school board about twelve years ago, and has since been occupied by the common schools of the borough. These consist of a series of graded schools, managed by a Principal and three assistants. The schools opened in the fall of 1883, with an enrollment of 160 pupils under the superintendency of J. M. Morrison, who had three lady assistants. There are four departments, each of which is in excellent condition. The schools were graded in the winter of 1872-73, by F. W. Knapp. The latter was succeeded by the present Principal, who is now (1883) beginning his fifth school year at Girard.
The first school that was held in Girard Township was taught in what is now Girard Borough, by J. Swan, in the year 1809. He was then in his sixteenth year. The following year (1810) Mr. Swan taught a school in Mill Creek Township.
In 1827, the village school was held in the lower floor of a log building that stood a little to the rear of the site of the drug store of Smith & Lowe on Main street; Tabitha Mashon was teaching about this time (the second floor of the building was used as the Masonic Lodge room).
HOTELS AND FACTORIES.The hotels of Girard Borough are the Avenue House, finished in 1879, and owned and kept by Peter H. Nellis, and the Martin House, which has been in operation thirty years, and is now kept by Alonzo White. Girard has been rather unfortunate in the matter of hotel buildings, the old Girard House, which occupied the site of the present Avenue House, and the Central House of Joshua Evans, which stood on the east side of the public square, having both been burned. In the days of stage coaching on the Ridge road, the locality was a famous ne for taverns, there having been no less than eight, within two miles, in 1835.
846 HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY.
The most important manufacturing concern of the borough is the wrench factory. This concern was built by a corporation under the State laws, and erected in 1874, by the Walton Brothers, of Cleveland, Ohio, with a capital of $8,000, the people of Girard subscribing half the stock. It failed in 1875, and at Sheriff's sale was purchased by C. F. Rockwell, W. C. Culbertson, C. F. Webster and R. S. Battles. This company is under a limited partnership, but the business has been carried on successfully under this firm. The concern employ about seventy-five men. In the fall of 1883, a well was sunk near the mill for the purpose of securing gas for lighting purposes. After boring 1,310 feet, and receiving an insufficient supply, the derrick was removed to a different locality and the second well is under operation at this writing. Besides this establishment, H. H. Waitman has a planing mill, and there is a small furniture factory. All of these concerns are run by steam. There is also a small bedspring manufactory owned by H. P. Malick.
SQUARE, MONUMENT, ETC.The public square of Girard was a gift from Joseph Wells, one of the owners of the land, when the village was laid out. It is surrounded by a number of fine buildings, but its principal objects of interest are the soldiers' monument, and the Dan Rice residence, which occupies, with grounds, a full block on the north side. The monument is a splendid shaft of marble, designed by the celebrated Chicago sculptor, Leonard Volk, inclosed by an iron railing, and dedicated November 1, 1865. It cost $6,000, the whole of which was paid by Dan Rice.
The Dan Rice property embraces two and a half acres, inclosed on three sides by a heavy brick wall, and ornamented with statuary, walks, arbors, and the choicest of trees, shrubbery and flowers. The mansion itself is a large frame building. Within the inclosure is a fine conservatory, and a brick barn which cost $26,000. The cost of the wall around the grounds was $3,000. Dan Rice's first purchase in Girard was in 1853, when he bought a piece of land with building on the northwest side of the square, from Col. John McClure, for $18,000. In 1856 he moved there, and from that date continued to add to his purchase until he had possession of the entire square, at a total cost of about $60,000. Financial embarrassments lost to Dan Rice this estate, and the present owners are the estate of Avery Smith, John Nathans and Dr. G. R. Spalding.
PUBLIC MEN.Girard Borough and Township have furnished a goodly proportion of the public men of the county. Among the number have been George H. Cutler, State Senator from 1873 to 1875, Speaker of the Senate, then the second highest office in the Commonwealth, from the close of the session in 1874, and President pro tem. during the session of 1875; Theodore Byman, member of Assembly in 1848; Leffert Hart in 1849; Henry Teller in 1860 and 1861; George P. Rea in 1868 and 1869; H. A. Traut, from 1883 to 1885; Myron Hutchinson, Associate Judge, from 1841 to 1850; James Miles, from 1851 to 1856; S. E. Woodruff, District Attorney, from 1853 to 1856, and United States Register in Bankruptcy for the Congressional District from 1867 to 1879; James C. Marshall, Prothonotary, from January 13, 1839, to November 16, 1839, and Samuel Perley, from 1851 to 1854; Jeremiah Davis, County Treasurer, from December 1, 1856, to December 23, 1858; L. T. Fisk, County Superintendent of Public Schools, from 1866 to 1869; Myron Hutchinson, County Commissioner from 1828 to 1830, and James Miles, from 1835 to 1838; D. W. Hutchinson, Mercantile Appraiser, in 1877; William Biggers, Jury Commissioner, from
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 847
[p. 847 blank; p. 848 graphic]
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 849
January 1, 1880, to January 1, 1883; George Platt, County Surveyor, from 1872 to date; John Hay, Director of the Poor, from 1853 to 1857; James Miles, County Auditor, from 1840 to 1843, and Philip Osborn, from 1864 to 1867. Senator and Secretary of the Interior Teller, of Colorado, was a resident of Girard Township while a boy. The Girard members of the bar are James C. Marshall, D. W. Hutchinson, S. E. & T. S. Woodruff, George H. Cutler and C. J. Hinds. Mr. Marshall moved to Erie in April, 1844, and the Messrs. Woodruff about 1872. Capt. Hutchinson was Chairman of the Democratic County Committee for several years, was a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention of 1872, and has represented the county frequently in State Conventions. In addition to the above officers, T. C. Wheeler was United State Assistant Assessor, being appointed under President Lincoln, and holding the office nine years. Mr. Osborn was keeper of the Marine Hospital at Erie, a State appointment, for several years, ending in 1883.
NEWSPAPERS AND BANKS.The first newspaper was the Girard Free Press, started about 1845, by S. D. Carpenter, who took Horace Greeley's advice, went West, and became a prominent politician, issuing a book at the commencement of the war, which furnished the texts for numberless Democratic editorials. The Express, its successor, was purchased by T. C. Wheeler and William S. Finch, November 7, 1854, and the name was changed to the Republican. It bore the novel motto, "Independent on all subjects, rabid on none." In 1855, Samuel Perley moved to Girard from Erie, merged the material of his city office with that of the Republican, and conducted a paper for several years. From that date, several futile efforts were made to establish a paper until 1868, when the Cosmopolite entered the arena, as the successor of the Crisis, which had been founded at Conneautville, by T. G. Fields, under the auspices of Dan Rice, to advocate his election to the Presidency. Charles Stow became editor of the Cosmopolite, and infused such a degree of vigor and ability into it that it got a reputation the country over. After a brief suspension, owing to commercial depression, it was purchased by Jacob Bender & Bro. in the spring of 1872. In the spring of 1873, Charles Bender went out of the concern, but returned in 1876, and in 1880 he purchased the interest of his brother, who moved to Erie.
The first bank organized in Girard was in 1859, under the firm name of Battles & Webster. This firm dissolved in 1876, since which time it has been carried on by R. S. Battles, and C. F. Webster, Cashier. The First National Bank was organized in 1863, by Henry McConnell, James Webster, Henry M. Webster, R. S. Battles, John Gulliford and L. S. Wright. Henry McConnell was elected President, which position he filled to the close of his life, in 1871. James Webster succeeded him to this position, which he filled until the charter expired in June, 1882. R. S. Battles was elected Cashier, and occupied that position during the entire administration of the concern. A. W. Course was elected Assistant Cashier, and held the post till November, 1871. He was succeeded by C. F. Webster, who filled the position to its close. Henry M. Webster was elected Vice President at the retirement of James Webster, and occupied this post until his death. During the panic of 1873, all other banks suspended payment in currency, while the tow banks located in Girard paid all its demands in currency on presentation. The First National Bank was in a prosperous condition, and had passed successfully through all the periods of financial distress. The charger having expired prior to the passage of laws by Congress, it was necessarily closed. It paid off its stock-holders 120 cents on the dollar, and all its indebtedness inside of thirty days.
850 HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY.
MISCELLANEOUS.The secret societies of the borough are a Masonic Blue Lodge and Chapter, and two lodges of the United Workmen. A Grange flourished awhile, but has been disbanded. Exodus Lodge, I. O. of G. T., was in existence in 1855; the Girard Lyceum was founded in 1855; a Young Men's Literary Association in 1859; and the Girard Guards, D. W. Hutchinson, Captain, were organized in 1860. The Union Agricultural Society of Girard was instituted as an auxiliary to the county society, July 25, 2856;had a fair that year, and continued to give annual exhibitions till the war. It is now defunct.
The old State line passes through the borough, running within six feet of the northeast corner of the Avenue House.
The adoption of Girard as the residence of San Rice had the effect of drawing other caterers to the public amusement there, and in course of time it became known far and wide as a "show town." Among the famous showmen who made it their residence were Dr. James L. Thayer, who started as an employe of Rice's; Charles W. Noyes, one of his pupils; Abe Henderson, Agrippa Martin and Seymour Pease, all at one period owners or part owners of extensive circuses. No less than five shows have been organized in the borough, viz., Dan Rice's, Thayer & Noyes', Rice & Forepaugh's, Anderson & Co.'s and G. R. Spalding & Co.'s. Dan Rice wintered his shows there from 1856 till the spring of 1875. Denman Thompson, the popular comedian, is a native of Girard Township. Frank Drew, Sr., the famous comedian, claims Girard as his home. Charles Stow, the editor and poet, has been a resident of the borough since 1867, and spends each winter there with his family.
BOROUGH OF LOCKPORT.The post office name of Lockport is Platea. The town started about 1840, during the construction of the canal, and derives its appellation from the fact that there were twenty-eight locks within a distance of two miles. These had an average lift of six and one-half feet, and were used to overcome the rise from the lake shore plain to the valley of Conneaut Creek. The thickly settled portion of the borough is situated in the valley of Hall's Run, a tributary of Elk Creek, about four miles from Girard Borough, three from Cross's Station and five from Albion. The town owes its origin to the enterprise of Silas Pratt, who had the contract for building the locks and who owned the land. Foreseeing that a town must grow up along the locks, he started a store and built a church, hotel and several houses. Mr. Pratt failed in 1848 or 1849, and was prevented from fully carrying out his projects. The canal caused a considerable trade to spring up, and the town was once quite a flourishing place, containing two hotels, two churches, three stores, an oar factory, a tannery, foundry, planing mill, printing office, three blacksmith shops and a harness shop. Ezekiel Page, who invented a way of turning the blade and handle of an oar together, erected a building four stories high and 180 feet long by 80 wide. He became embarrassed about 1855, went South, and was found dead in the woods of Florida, having probably lost his way. The factory building was moved to Erie after the war, and placed on the Anthracite Coal and Iron Company's dock near the land lighthouse. A fire in 1871 swept away the hotel and barn owned by W. B. Andrews; some two years later the foundry was burned, and in 1876 the second and last hotel fell a prey to the same destructive element. These successive conflagrations, joined to the abandonment of the canal, seemed to have prostrated the town forever, but it
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY. 851
has taken a fresh start lately, and bids fair yet to become a place of some importance.
Lockport was incorporated as a borough in 1870, taking in about seventeen hundred acres, of which the chief portion is farming land. Its population then was estimated at 500, but had been reduced to 345 in 1880. The territory included in the borough limits was originally a portion of Elk Creek Township, and, after the organization of Girard Township, formed its extreme southern part. The borough covers a space of some three miles from east to west, by one mile and a third from north to south. The farming land is generally clay, with some patches of gravel. Wheat is a sure and good crop, and all kinds of fruit common to the lake shore do well. By the appraisement of 1883, the value of real estate within the borough was $87,189, and of personal property $6,423. The amount of money returned as drawing interest was $7,628. The eleven mile level of the canal commenced at the head of the locks at Lockport, and extended to Spring Corners, in Crawford County. Crooked Creek, which empties into Lake Erie in Springfield Township, rises in Lockport Borough.
The borough contains two churches -- the Disciple and the Methodist Episcopal -- both built in 1878.
The Disciple Church was organized in the winter of 1877 by Elder Cushman, who became the regular pastor of the congregation and served it some two years. The present pastor is Elder Wright. A Sabbath school, numbering 100 scholars and teachers, is carried on, superintended by J. P. Sherman. Before building their church edifice, the congregation worshiped in Tyler Hall.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized about the year 1843, and soon thereafter a church building was erected about a quarter of a mile west of Lockport. This was torn down and partially removed to the village and used in the construction of the present edifice at that place. Prior to 1865, the charge was connected with Girard. Rev. N. W. Jones was pastor in 1881, 1882 and 1883.
The business institutions are a cheese factory (established in 1876), an oar factory, a tannery, planing mill, saw mill, cider mill, two stores, a wagon shop, three blacksmith ships, two shoe shops and a harness shop. The tannery was started by William Aldrich in 1848, and the oar factory by Mr. Rowley in 1860. There is a public school with two grades and two teachers. The town is unfortunate in its distance from a railroad, the nearest station being Cross's. It has had no hotel since the last fire.
(the remainder of this section is under construction)
20 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.
LYSANDER P. JACKSON, farmer, P.O. Cherry Hill, was born in Elk Creek Township, Erie County, Penn., January 5, 1823, son of Lyman Jackson, a native of Vermont, who came to Erie County in 1805, with his father, and settled in what is now known as Albion, but at that time called Jacksonville, after the grandfather of our subject. This grandfather was a soldier of the Revolution: he raised a family of thirteen children, ten boys and three girls; seven of the former were soldiers in the war of 1812, and their father at the same time; but one of these uncles is now living, Abner, residing near Wellsville, Ohio. Our subject's father died in Wisconsin January 11, 1879; he was a local oreacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church for fifty years; he held the office of Justice of the Peace for a number of years and was a very prominent man, and a devoted Christian. Lysander P. Jackson was united in marriage, May 21, 1846, with Miss Elizabeth, a daughter of Robert McKee, and sister of James McKee...
Note: The "grandfather" mentioned above was Lyman Jackson, Sr. (1756-1835), an early pioneer of Erie Co., PA and founder of "Jacksonville." The "Abner" referred to was the Rev. Mr. Abner Jackson (1795-1888), a retired Methodist minister who for many years lived in Washington Co., Pennsylvania. He was a prominent citizen of California Borough in Washington Co. and, in 1852, was a co-founder of South-Western Normal College, the school which became California University of Pennsylvania. Abner Jackson's 1880 statement supporting the Solomon Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship has long been an important source document in that controversy.
160 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.
JOHN RUDD (deceased), moved to Erie Co., Penn., in Aug., 1805, from Otsego Co., N. Y., with a large family, his son John having preceded him several years and commenced a distillery. He took up about 350 acres of land along the lake front, on the Moravian tract. John Rudd, Sr., died in 1830, aged eighty-two. His widow and her children becoming infatuated with the Mormon cause, about the year 1839 [sic] joined the sect and went West. Thus ended one of Erie's pioneer families.
Note: The above report does not reveal that one of the sons of John Rudd, Sr., Anson Rudd, remained in Erie Co., and continued to operate his part of the famoily farm, just east of the "Moravian tract," along the Erie shore. His mother and three brothers did indeed join the Mormons. Erastus Rudd was killed on Joseph Smith's 1834 "Zion's Camp" military expedition to Missouri. The other two brothers, John Rudd, Jr. and Cyprian Rudd, apparently dropped out of Mormonism in the mid 1830s, after the death of their mother, Chloe Hills Rudd. All of these Rudds were personally acquainted with Solomon Spalding.
(remainder of text under construction)