Historical Reference,
Erie Co., Penn.

Erie: S. B. Nelson, Pub., 1896

  •  Title Page
  •  Preface
  •  Contents

  •  [excerpts] Part III: Erie Co.
  •  [excerpts] Part IV: Townships
  •  [excerpts] Part VI: Biographies

  •  Transcriber's comments

  • See also: 1884 History of Erie Co.   |   1878 History of Ashtabula Co., Ohio





    .. Historical  Reference  Book ..




    Containing a Condensed History of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the
    Several Cities, Boroughs and Townships in the County:

    --- ALSO ---

    Portraits and Biographies of the Governors since 1790, and of Numerous
    Representative Citizens.

    Historical and Descriptive Matter (Page 19 to Page 540) Prepared
    by Benjamin Whitman.



    ERIE, PA.


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    P R E F A C E.

    IN submitting the present work to the people of Erie county, the publisher takes satisfaction in the belief that he has fully complied with every promise that has been made to those who have honored him with their patronage. In the character of its reading matter, the fidelity to its purpose, the neatness of its typography and the general style in which it appears, it may reasonably be claimed to be at least the equal of any publication of similar nature that has ever been issued in Pennsylvania.

    As announced in the prospectus, the work is designed as a Historical Reference Book and Biographical Dictionary, rather than as a detailed County History. The limit placed upon it from the beginning did not admit of the numerous incidents and illustrations that form an extended County History, and the aim, both of the writers and publisher, has been to present the leading events as briefly as the facts seemed to warrant, and to so arrange them that they could be conveniently found by the average reader. With this in view, the chapters have been made short and supplied with frequent sub-headings, reference has been noted in various parts of the book to other pages treating of the same subject, a copious Table of Contents has been given, and the whole has been supplemented with a full Alphabetical Index.

    Attention is specially called to the Engravings, which must be conceded to be far in advance of the majority of art work in publications of the kind.

    The Portraits of the Governors, the Biographies of the same, and the Political and other information relating to Pennsylvania, are features that will be appreciated by every citizen who has a patriotic interest in the state of his residence.

    To those who are tempted to complain of the price and peculiar character of the book, it may be proper to explain that it would be impossible to print a creditable work of Local History at a lower figure or on a different basis without great loss to the publisher. Numerous historical publications have been issued, in Erie and elsewhere. relying upon the general public for support, and in every instance that can now be recalled they have been a sad financial failure, the sales in one or two home instances having been barely enough to pay for the white paper on which they were printed. Erie county has not yet reached the degree of wealth and population that will permit of the publication of a County History at the price of a book intended for state or national circulation, nor without some distinctive feature that will secure for it a special and remunerative patronage. The highest ambition of the writers and publisher of this book will be attained if it shall prove to be a useful preparatory effort to the complete edition of Local Annals that will come after the county has had many years of growth and its people have attained to a more wide-spread prosperity.

    The Historical and Descriptive chapters of the book (pages 19 to 540) have been prepared by Benjamin Whitman, who has spent the main part of a year in collecting the material. He desires that credit shall be given for much of the information secured to Capt. N. W. Russell's newspaper contributions; Miss Sanford's History of Erie County; Warner, Beers & Co.'s History of the County, printed in 1884; Day's "Historical Collections;" Dr. Egle's History of Pennsylvania; The Archives of Pennsylvania; the Herald's "Souvenir of Erie," issued in 1888; Atkinson's Erie City Directory; the files of the several Erie journals; Hanlon's City Manual and Digest of City Laws and Ordinances, and various other sources "too numerous to mention."

    The Biographical section owes much of its interest to the pen of Hon. James Sill, who contributed a number of the family and individual sketches.

    The publisher returns thanks to the citizens of the county for the hearty support they have given to the enterprise, and begs leave to express the hope that they will receive the book with as much satisfaction as he remembers their kindness and liberality.



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    C O N T E N T S.


    PART  I.

    Pennsylvania -- Historical, Descriptive and Statistical -- State Constitution of 1873.

    PART  II.

    Biographies of the Governors.

    PART  III.

    General History and Description of Erie County.

    PART  IV.

    Township and Borough History.

    PART  V.

    The Cities of Erie and Corry.

    PART  VI.

    Family Histories and Biographical Sketches.

    PART  VII.

    Alphabetical Index.


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    P A R T   I.


    Historical, Descriptive and Statistical.

    --- ALSO ---



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    ABORIGINES. -- The portion of America included in Pennsylvania was originally occupied by an Indian tribe who "called themselves the Lenni Lenape, or original people." They spoke a common language and assembled around the same council fire. They were united, by conquest, with the historical Six Nations, embracing the Onondagas, the Cayugas, the Oneidas, the Senecas, the Mohawks, and the Tuscaroras. These natives became known to the white settlers by the general name of the Iroquois, who had their great council fire in the Onondaga valley of New York. Of this confederacy, the Senecas held control of the northwestern portion of the State, embracing Erie and adjoining counties. The Eriez, or "Cat tribe," who were the original people along the south shore of Lake Erie, were exterminated about the year 1650 by the Iroquois, as is more fully detailed in the general history of Erie county. (For a full account of the Indians of this region see the latter history.)

    Anthracite Coal. -- Pennsylvania is the part of the world where anthracite coal is produced in a large quantity. The anthrate coal production is limited to the northeastern portion of the State, and almost entirely to the counties of Luzerne, Schuylkill, Lackawanna, and Carbon, covering an area of about 480 square miles. This coal was first tested in what is now Luzerne county about 1768 or 1769. Previous to that the coal in use throughout the world was bituminous or semi-bituminous in character. Anthracite coal was experimented with, for local purposes, in a small way, in the counties where found, for a number of years, but was not received with favor by the general public until about 1820-23, when it began to be shipped in considerable quantities, by means of the Lehigh and Schuylkill systems of navigation. In 1826 about 50,000 tons were received in Philadelphia, which was then the only port of shipment on salt water. Since then the production has increased to such an extent that anthracite coal is sent to every part of the world, and the mining and transportation of the same has become one of the great industries of the State. The amount carried by rail and canal in 1893 was 43,089,536 tons.

    Area, etc. -- The State is bounded on the north by Lake Erie and New York; on the east by New York and New Jersey; on the south by Delaware, Maryland, and WestVirginia; and on the west by West Virginia and Ohio. The Delaware river forms the boundary between Pennsylvania on the west and New York and New Jersey on the east. The greatest width of the State is 175 miles, and its greatest length 303. By official tables prepared at Harrisburg, the State is represented as embracing 45,086 square miles and 28,808,443 acres.

    Battles. -- Although founded by Quakers, who are opposed to war for any cause, the State has been the scene of some of the most bloody battles and frontier troubles in the history of America. Among these may be mentioned the struggle between the Eriez and Iroquois along the south shore of Lake Erie, hereafter described at length; the engagements between the French and English in the western part of the State, including Braddock's defeat near Pittsburg; the various skirmishes with the Indians, embracing the attacks on Forts LeBoeuf and Presque Isle; the Revolutionary battles of Paoli, Brandywine and Germantown; the massacre at Wyoming; the Confederate raid upon the Cumberland Valley, and the burning of Chambersburg; and the decisive battles of the war for the


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    C H A P T E R   I.


    THE COUNTY OF ERIE forms the extreme northwestern portion of Pennsylvania, and is the only section of the State that borders on Lake Erie. It is bounded on the north by Lake Erie, on the east by Chautauqua county, New York, and Warren county, Pennsylvania, on the south by Crawford county, Pennsylvania, and on the west by Ashtabula county, Ohio. The length of the county along the lake is about forty-five miles, along the Chautauqua and Warren county lines thirty-six miles, along that of Crawford county forty-five miles, and along the Ohio line nine miles. It contains 772 square miles, or about 500,000 square acres. Its mean or center latitude is forty-two degrees north, and its longitude is three degrees west from Washington.

    The surface of the county is divided into five distinct sections, viz.: The Lake Shore plain, the series of dividing ridges, the valleys between the ridges, the valleys of French creek and its tributaries, and the high lands south of the last named stream.

    Four separate ranges of hills extend across the county from east to west, known respectively as the First, Second, Third and Fourth ridges. The First ridge rises to a height of 150 to 200 feet above Lake Erie, the Second to about 400, and the height of the Third and Fourth ridges varies from 600 to 1,200 feet, their most elevated summits being in the eastern portion of McKean, the western portion of Waterford, the northern portion of Venango, the southern part of Greenfield, and in the vicinity of Corry. The separation of the ridges becomes more clearly defined along a line drawn through Harbor Creek, Mill Creek, Summit, Waterford and McKean townships than further east, but from there westward each ridge is as distinct as though it belonged to a system of its own. As the Third and Fourth ridges extend westward they recede from the lake until they run into Crawford county.


    Three continuous valleys cross the county between the ridges, from the line above mentioned, broken in places by slight elevations, and known in succession as the Mill Creek. the Walnut Creek and the Elk Creek valleys. These streams rise on the high ground of the Third and Fourth ridges, and, after flowing westward for some distance down their respective valleys, suddenly turn to the north and break through the First and Second ridges by a series of deep "gulfs " or gullies, which are a striking feature of the region. North of the First ridge, and between it and Lake Erie, is a broad alluvial tract, from two to three miles in width, which extends along the whole water front of the county. Its general height above the lake is from fifty to sixty feet, but in the eastern part of Harbor Creek township its elevation suddenly rises to nearly l00 feet and so continues almost to the New York line.

    South of the dividing ridges are the valleys of French creek and of the streams which empty into it, and still beyond are the hills which form the water-shed between that stream and Brokenstraw, Spring and Oil creeks. The water on the north side of the main ridge flows into Lake Erie, and on the south side to the Allegheny river. The dividing line between the waters is some eight miles south of Lake Erie in Greenfield and Greene townships, twelve miles in Summit, fourteen in Waterford, McKean and Washington, and sixteen in Franklin and EIk Creek. Along French, Walnut, Elk, Conneaut, Mill,


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    VARIOUS indications have been found in the county which lead to the conclusion that it must have been peopled centuries ago by a different race from the Indians who were found here when it was first visited by white men. When the link of the Erie and Pittsburg R. R. from the Lake Shore road to the dock at Eric was in process of construction, the laborers dug into a great mass of bones at the crossing of the public road which joins the Lake road near Scott's Pioneer Farm. From the promiscuous way in which they were thrown together, it is surmised that a terrible battle must have taken place in the vicinity at some day so far distant that not even a tradition of the event has been preserved. The skulls were flattened, and the foreheads were seldom more than an inch in width. The bodies were in a sitting posture, and there were no traces that garments, weapons or ornaments had been buried with them.

    At a later date, when the roadway of the Philadelphia and Erie R. R., where it passes through the Warfel farm, was being widened, another deposit of bones was dug up and ruthlessly disposed of. Among the skeletons was one of a giant, side by side with a smaller person, probably that of his wife. The arm and leg bones of this native American Goliath were about one-half longer than those of the tallest man among the laborers: the skull was immensely huge; the lower jawbone easily slipped over the face and whiskers of a full-faced man, and the teeth were in a perfect state of preservation.

    Another skeleton was dug up in Conneaut township some years ago which was quite as remarkable in its dimensions. A comparison was made with the largest man in the neighborhood, and the jawbone readily covered his face, while the lower bone of the leg was nearly a foot longer than the one with which it was measured, indicating that the man must have been eight to tell feet in height. The bones of a flathead were turned up in the same township some two years ago with a skull of unusual size. Relics of a former time have been gathered in that section by the pailful, and among other curiosities a brass watch was found that was as big as a common saucer.

    In preparing the bed for the "Nickel Plate" railroad, near the bridge over Elk creek, in Girard township, numerous skeletons were thrown up by the steam shovel and carelessly dumped to one side with as little respect as if they had been the bones of so many cattle.

    An ancient graveyard was discovered in 1890 on the land now known as the Carter and Dickinson places in Erie. Dr. Albert Thayer dug up some of the bones, and all indicated a race of beings of immense size.


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    No less curious are the pre-historic mounds and circles found in Wayne, Harbor Creek, Conneaut, Girard, Springfield, LeBoeuf, Venango and Fairview townships. The principal one in Wayne township, which is still in a fair state of preservation, is near the road from Corry to Elgin, and but a short distance east of the springs which furnish water for the State fish-hatching establishment. It consists of a circle of raised earth, surrounded by a trench, from which the dirt was dug, the whole enclosing about three acres of unbroken ground. The embankment has been much flattened and reduced by the elements, but was still from one to two feet high and from three to four feet wide at the base some years ago. When the first settlers discovered it the interior of the circle was covered with forest trees. Half a mile west, a little to the north of the road, on a slight eminence, was another and smaller circle, which has been plowed down, leaving no vestige behind.

    The circles in other portions of the county are or were similar in their general features, with one exception, to the above. Those in Harbor Creek township were situated on each side of Four-Mile creek, slightly southeast of the big curve of the Philadelphia and Erie R. R., on points overlooking the deep gulf of that stream. The one on the west side of the creek is still in a fair state of preservation. The two Conneaut circles were near together, while those in Girard and Springfield, four in number, extended in a direct line from the western part of the former township to the southwestern part of the latter. One of the circles partially occupied the site of the cemetery at East Springfield. In Fairview township there was both a circle and a mound, the first at the mouth of Front run, and the second at Manchester. The latter, at the close of the last century, was about six feet high and fifteen feet in diameter. A tree was cut on one of the embankments in Conneaut that had attained the age of 600 years. The circles in Le Boeuf and Venango were very much like those above described.


    The skeletons of extinct species of animals have frequently been found in the county.

    Perhaps the most extraordinary discovery of that nature was made near Girard borough, in the early part of May, 1880. A man, while plowing, turned up some bones of a mammoth, which were thought to indicate an animal fifteen feet long and from twelve to thirteen feet high. One of the teeth weighed three and a half pounds, having a grinding surface of three and a half by four inches. Pieces of the tusks led to the opinion that they must have been eight or ten feet long.

    In the year 1825, while Francis Carnahan was plowing along the lake shore in Harbor Creek township, he turned up a strange looking bead, which was cleaned and preserved. It fell into the hands of I. G. Olmstead, LL, D., a traveler and archaeologist of some reputation, who pronounced it to be one of the celebrated "Chorean beads" of ancient Egypt, and kept it until his death as a relic of rare interest and value.


    Among the natural curiosities of the county are the "gulfs" or gullies through which the lake shore streams descend from the dividing ridges in the south to the level of the lake. The gulf of Four-Mile creek extends from near the crossing of the Station road, about half a mile south of Wesleyville, to Ripley's mill, in Greene township, a distance in a direct line of about four miles, and by the course of the stream of about one-half more. Its depth varies from fifty to a hundred and fifty feet, with sides that are almost perpendicular at some points, and its width is from one to two hundred feet. The deepest part is at a spot locally known as Wintergreen Gulf, some four and a half miles southeast of Erie.

    The "gulf" of Six-Mile creek, which is wholly in Harbor Creek township, is very similar to the other. It commences about half a mile south of the Buffalo road and terminates a little north of the Station road, being about the same length as the gully of Four-Mile creek. Its deepest and most picturesque point is at the Clark settlement, where the banks are not far from a hundred and fifty feet high.

    "Gulfs" of a like nature attend every one of the lake shore streams, but are less picturesque, generally speaking, than the two above named. The most interesting are those of Twelve-Mile creek, near the lake; of Sixteen-Mile


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    by them. The fish are caught by getting fast in the meshes by their gills, hence the name of the net. The fish thus caught soon die. Whitefish are so delicate that a few hours' delay in removing them from the nets makes them worthless. Gill-net fishermen plan to lift their nets every forty-eight hours. Lake Erie is a subject to fierce storms that frequently continue several days, during which it is impossible for nets to be lifted. Thus hundreds of tons of choice whitefish, to say nothing of the other varieties, are held in the nets until they are of no use, and have to be thrown away. This feature of gill-net fishing has done more to lessen the number of whitefish in the lakes than any other one thing. The pound net is used almost exclusively in the western waters of the lake, and with the exception of whitefish a large percentage of the fish taken in Lake Erie are caught in pound nets. This device was introduced on Lake Erie at Dunkirk by a man named McClosky, in 1850. There are now several hundred miles of them stretched along the lake, some of the lines being from ten to fifteen miles in length.

    "Herring, Etc. -- The lake herring is a wonderful variety of fish. In spite of the thousands upon thousands of tons of them that have been taken from Lake Erie in the last few years, they are more abundant than ever, and they are the only lake fish of which that can be said. Sometimes the nets will be so jammed with herring that the markets will be knocked galleywest.

    "It is estimated that 6,000 tons of fish are salted along Lake Erie annually, not less than 5,000 tons are frozen, and probably 9,000 tons are smoked. The amount of fish sold from Lake Erie points fresh, which is principally a local trade, will reach 18,000 tons a year. These figures represent the catch of Lake Erie only. The other lakes west of Erie add something like 50,000 tons to the annual total of the supply. While Lake Erie produces more fish than any of the other lakes, the whitefish of Lake Superior surpass those of Lake Erie in quality -- as they do all other whitefish. The lake trout of Lake Superior are also the finest in the world. Lake Michigan produces a close second to Lake Erie in whitefish, and exceeds all the other great lakes in amount of lake trout."



    THE State Library at Harrisburg contains two old French maps, one printed in 1763 and the other in 1768, in which rude attempts are made to show the leading geographical features of portions of the United States and Canada. Both represent the south shore of Lake Erie as having been peopled by a tribe or nation of Indians known as the "Eriez." A note on the margin of each reads as follows: "The ancient Eriez were exterminated by the Iroquois upwards of 100 years ago, ever since which time they have been in possession of Lake Erie."

    This information is corroborated in a French book printed in 1708, describing the voyages of Le Baron de Lahonton, an adventurous Frenchman, who spent ten years among the Indians, commencing in 1688 "The shores of Lake Erie," he says, "are frequented by the Iroquois, the Illinois, the Oumanies, etc., who are so savage that it is a risk to stop with them. The Errieronens and Andestiguerons, who formerly inhabited the borders of the lake, were exterminated by the Iroquois." Incidentally it may be added, he refers to the Massassaugues as a tribe living somewhere near the western end of the lake.


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    All of the authorities agree that the date of the extermination of the Eriez was somewhere about 1650. It is claimed by most historians that the word Eriez was the Indian expression for wild cat, but a recent writer contends that "this is a mistake, that it does not mean wild cat, but raccoon. The latter were abundant on the lake shore, while the former were rarely seen."

    When the French visited this section in 1626 the Eriez were governed by a queen, called in their own language Yagowania, and in the Seneca tongue Gegosasa. The chief warrior of the tribe was Ragnotha, who had his principal location at Tu-shu-way, now Buffalo. The Massassaugas were described by French writers of the period as a tribe living near the western end of Lake Erie.


    The war of extermination between the Eriez and the Iroquois occurred about 1650, and was one of the most cruel in aboriginal history. From the opening it was understood by both sides to mean the destruction of one or the other. The Eriez organized a powerful body of warriors and sought to surprise their enemies in their own country. The latter raised a force and marched out to meet the invaders. The engagement resulted in a complete victory for the Iroquois. Seven times the Eriez crossed the stream dividing the hostile lines and they were as often driven back with terrible loss. On another occasion several hundred Iroquois attacked nearly three times their number of Eriez, encamped near the mouth of French creek, dispersed them, took many prisoners, and compelled the balance to fly to remote regions. In a battle near the site of the Cattaraugus Indian mission house, on the Allegheny river, the loss of the Eriez was enormous. Finally a pestilence broke out among the Eriez, which "swept away greater numbers even than the club and arrow." The Iroquois took advantage of their opportunity to end all future trouble with the ill-fated Eriez. Those who were taken captive were, with rare exceptions, remorselessly butchered, and their wives and children were distributed among the Iroquois villages, never again to be restored to their husbands and brothers. The few survivors "fled to distant regions in the West and South, and were followed by the undying hatred of the Iroquois. *  *  * 

    Their council fire was put out, and their name and language as a tribe lost."

    It is claimed by some that the Eriez were also known by the name of Kah-Kwahs, but the investigations of the writer lead to the belief that this was only a local title given to a tribe located at or near the foot of the lake.


    After the extermination of the Eriez, the country on the south side of the lake was occupied by the Iroquois, as they were called by the French, or the Six Nations, as they were known to the English. The Six Nations were originally a confederacy of five tribes -- the Onondagas, Cayugas, Senecas, Oneidas and Mohawks -- and were then styled the Five Nations. In 1712, the Tuscaroras, being expelled from the interior of North Carolina and Virginia, were adopted as a sixth tribe. Their territory stretched from Vermont nearly to the upper end of Lake Erie, embracing the headwaters of the Allegheny, Susquehanna and Delaware rivers, and the seat of their "great council fire" was in the Onondaga valley. The Senecas, who were the most powerful tribe, occupied the western part of the domain, having their headquarters on the Allegheny river, near the line between New York and Pennsylvania. The Indians in the northwestern part of this State were Senecas intermixed with stray members from each of the other tribes.


    When the French and English began to extend their settlements westward, the lake region was under the full dominion of the lroquois, with the Senecas as the immediate possessors of the soil. Both nations appreciated the importance of having the good will of the Indians, but the adroit French were more successful in winning their friendship than their blunt and less politic competitors. As far back as 1730, the French Indian agent, Joncaire, penetrated this section, adopted the habits of the natives, became one of their number, and "won them over to the French interest." The French built up a considerable trade with the Indians, which yielded an immense profit. The English viewed the projects of the French with mingled jealousy and alarm, sent out numerous agents, and succeeded in some quarters in estranging the Indians


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    AS may be seen by the preceding chapters, the first known American citizens who located permanently within the bounds of Erie county svere Thomas Rees and John Grubb, who reached. Erie in the spring of 1795 and remained until their deaths. At a later date in the same year William Miles and William Cook, with their wives, made a settlement in Concord township, near the Crawford county line, where they were the sole residents for some years. A month or so later, Col. Seth Reed, accompanied by his wife and sons, Manning and Charles John, came to Erie in a sail boat from Buffalo, which was piloted by James Talmadge, who took up lands during the season in McKean township. These three ladies were the first white persons of their sex who are known to have resided in the county. The other settlers during 1795 were Rufus S. and George W. Reed, James Baird and children, Mrs. Thomas Rees and Mrs. J. Fairbanks, at Erie; Amos Judson, James Naylor, Lieut. Martin, and Martin Strong, in Waterford, John W, Russell, George Moore and David McNair, in Mill Creek; Capt. Robert King and family, William and Thomas Black and Thomas Ford and wife, in LeBccuf; Jonathan Spaulding in Conneaut; Michael Hare and two men named Ridue and Call, in Wayne; James and Bailey Donaldson, in North East, and James Blair in Girard. So far as the records show, these were the only white people living in the county that year. Among the settlers during the interval between 1795 and 1800 were the following:

    1796 -- Washington township, Alexander Hamilton and William Culbertson; Erie, Capt. Daniel Dobbins; Mill Creek, Benjamin Russell, Thomas P. Miller, David Dewey, Anthony Saltsman and John McFarland; Greenfield, Judah Colt, Elisha and Enoch Marvin, Cyrus Robinson, Charles Allen, Joseph Berry, John Wilson, James Moore, Joseph Webster, Philo Barker, Timothy Tuttle. Silas and William Smith, Joseph Shattuck, John Daggett, John Andrews and Leverett Bissell; McKean, Thomas and Oliver Dunn; Fairview, Francis Scott, Summit, George W. Reed; North East, William Wilson, George and Henry Hurst and Henry and Dyer Loomis; Springfield, Samuel Holliday John Devore, John Mershom, William McIntyre and Patrick Ager; Venango, Adam and James Reed, Burrill and Zalmon Tracy; Waterford, John Lytle, Robert Brotherton, John Lennox and Thomas Skinner.

    1797 -- Waterford, John Vincent and Wilson Smith; Wayne, Joseph Hall and _____ Prosser; Union, Hugh Wilson, Andrew Thompson, Matthew Gray, Francis B. and Robert Smith, Elk Creek, Eli Colton, Venango, Thomas, John and David Phillips; Springfield, Oliver Cross; Fairview, Thomas Forster, Jacob Weiss, George Nicholson, John Kelso, Richard Swan, Patrick Vance, Patrick and John McKee, Jeremiah and William Sturgeon and William Haggerty; LeBoeuf, Francis Isherwood, James, Robert and Adam Pollock; Conneaut, Col. Dunning McNair; Mill Creek, John Nicholson, the McKees and Boe Bladen; Washington, Job Reeder, Samuel Galloway, Simeon Dunn, John and James Campbell, Matthias Sipps, Phineas McLenethan, Matthew Hamilton, John McWilliams, James, John, Andrew and Samuel Culbertson, and Mrs. Jane Campbell (widow); North East, Thomas Robinson, Joseph McCord, James McMahon, Margaret Lowry (widow), James Duncan, Francis Brawley and Abram and Arnold Custard; Harbor Creek, William Saltsman, Amasa Prindle and Andrew Elliott.

    1798 -- Erie, William Wallace; Wayne, William Smith and David Findley; Union, Jacob Shephard, John Welsh, John Fagan and John Wilson; Elk Creek, George Haybarger


    114                                NELSON'S  BIOGRAPHICAL  DICTIONARY                               

    and John Dietz; Venango, William Allison and wife; Springfield, Nicholas LeBarger; Fairview, John Dempsey; Conneaut, Abiathar and Elihu Crane; Washington, Peter Kline; Girard, Abraham and William Silverthorn; North East, Thomas Crawford, Lemuel Brown, Henry and Matthew Taylor, William Allison, Henry Burgett, John, James and Matthew Greer; Waterford, Aaron Himrod.

    1799 -- Waterford, John, James and David Boyd, Capt. John Tracy, M. Himebaugh, John Clemens, the Simpsons and Lattimores; Erie, John Teel; McKean, Lemuel and Russell Stancliff; Summit, Eliakim Cook.

    The above is not claimed to be a complete list of the settlers up to 1800, but is as nearly full as can now be obtained. Emigration was slow the first five years in consequence of the land troubles. After 1805, the county commenced to fill up more rapidly, and to attempt to give a roll of the settlers would exceed the limits of a work like this. (See the City, Township and Borough Chapters.)


    Most of the people named above were from New England or New York, but quite a number were Scotch-Irish from the southern counties of Pennsylvania, and a few were of Pennsylvania Dutch descent. The New Yorkers were in general from the interior of that State, and the Pennsylvanians from Dauphin, Cumberland, Lancaster and Northumberland counties. The Riblets, Ebersoles, Loops, Zucks, Browns, Stoughs, Zimmermans, Kreiders, and others of that class, came in at a period ranging from 1801 to 1805. From that time the people who settled in the county were almost universally of New England and New York origin until about 1825, when another emigration of Pennsylvania Dutch set in, which continued until 1835 or thereabouts. Among those who located in the county during this period were the Weigels, Warfels, Mohrs, Metzlers, Bergers, Brennemans, Charleses and others whose names are familiar. The foreign element began to come in at a comparatively recent date -- the Irish about 1825, and the Germans from five to ten years after. The first settlers were a hardy, adventurous race of men, and their wives were brave, loving and dutiful women.


    The earliest marriage was that of Charles J. Reed, of Walnut Creek (Kearsarge), to Miss Rachel Miller, which occurred on December 27, 1797. The earliest recorded birth was that of John R., son of William Black, in Fort LeBeouf, August 29, 1795. Mr. Boardman, of Washington township, was born in the Conneauttee valley the same year

    The earliest known deaths occurred in the years below:

    Ralph Rutledge, killed by the Indians at Erie, May 29th, 1795. His son was fatally shot at the same time, and died shortly after, in the fort at LeBeouf.

    Gen. Anthony Wayne, in the block-house at Erie, December 15, 1796.

    Col. Seth Reed, at Walnut Creek, March 19, 1797.


    The majority, if not all, of the settlers were in moderate circumstances, and were content to live in a very cheap way. They had to depend on the produce of their little clearings, which consisted to a large extent of potatoes and corn. Mush, corn bread and potatoes were the principal food. There was no meat except game, and often this had to be eaten without salt. Pork, flour, sugar and other groceries sold at high prices, and were looked upon as luxuries. In 1798-99, wheat brought $2.50 per bushel; flour, $18 a barrel; corn, $2 per bushel; oats, $1.50; and potatoes, $ l.50. The mills were far apart, the roads scarcely more than pathways through the woods, and the grists had to be carried in small quantities on the backs of men or horses. Few families had stoves, and the cooking was done almost entirely over open fires. The beds were without springs and were made up in general by laying coarse blankets upon boxes or rude frames. All clothing was homemade. Every house had a spinning wheel, and many were provided with looms. Liquor was in common use, and there was seldom a family without its bottle, for the comfort of the husband and the entertainment of his guests.

    The first buildings were log cabins constructed of unhewn logs laid one upon another with the crevices filled in with mud. These gave way, as the condition of the people improved, to structures of hewn timber in which mortar was substituted for mud. Hardly any


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    of the houses were plastered. Many were without window glass, and wall paper was unknown. As saw mills increased, frame buildings of a better character were substituted for the log cabins, and occasionally a brick or stone structure was erected, which was talked about in all the country round as a marvel of architecture. The people were separated by long distances; for years there were few clearings that joined. In every house there was an imrnense fire-place, in which tremendous amounts of wood were consumed, which practically cost nothing.

    When a new residence or barn was to be erected, the neighbors were invariably invited to the raising. On such occasions, liquor or cider was expected to be freely dispensed, and it was rarely the case that the invitations were declined. These raisings were the merrymaking events of the day, and generally brought together twenty-five to fifty of the settlers, who worked hard, drank freely, and flattered themselves when they were through that they had experienced a jolly good time.


    All the cooking and warming, in town as well as in country, was done by the aid of fires kindled on the brick hearths or in the brick ovens. Pine knots or tallow candles furnislled the light for the long winter nights, and sanded floors supplied the place of rugs and carpets. The w ater used for household purposes was drawn from deep wells by the creaking sweeps. There were no friction matches, by the aid of which a fire could be easily kindled, and if the fire went out upon the hearth over night, and the tinder was damp, so that the spark would not catch, the alternative remained of wading through the snow a mile or so to borrow a brand from a neighbor. Only one room in any house was warm, in all the rest the temperature was at zero during the extreme winter nights. The men and women undressed and went to their beds in a temperature as cold as our barns and woodsheds.

    Churches and schoolhouses were sparsely located, and of the most primitive character. One pastor served a number of congregations; and salaries were so low that the preachers had to take part in working their farrns to procure support for their fanlilies. The people went to religious service on foot or horseback, and the children often walked two or three miles through the woods to scllool. There were no fires in the churches for a number of years. When they were introduced they were at first built in holes cut in the floors, and the smoke found its way out through openings in the roofs. The seats were of unsmoothed slabs, the ends and centers of wllich were laid upon blocks, and the pulpits were little better. Worship was held once or twice a month, consisting usually of two services, one in the forenoon and one immediately after noon, the people remaining during the interval and spending the time in social intercourse.


    A dense forest covered the county, when it was opened to settlement, which abounded with deer, bears, wolves, panthers, rabbits, foxes, raccoons, squirrels, oppossums, minks, skunks, martins, and some wild cattle, or " buffalo," as they were called by the Frenclh. Every man kept a gun and went into the woods in pursuit of game whenever the supply of food in his household ran short. Deer were abundant for years There were numerous deer-licks, where the animals resorted to find salt water, at which the hunters lay in wait and shot them down without mercy. Packs of wolves often surrounded the cabins and kept the inmates awake with their howling. A bounty was long paid for their scalps, varying in amount from $10 to $12 per head. Accounts are given of sheep being killed by wolves as late as 1813. Occasionally a panther or wild cat terrified whole neighborhoods by its screaming. The last panther was shot at Lake Pleasant by Abram Knapp in 1857.

    The country was full of pigeons, ducks, geese, pheasants, partridges, and turkeys in their season, all of which fell easy victims to the guns or traps of the pioneers The lakes, of course, contained plenty of fish, and most of the small streams abounded in trout. It does not appear that the county was ever much troubled with poisonous snakes. There were some massassaugies and copperheads on the peninsula; but the interior seems to have been remarkably free from dangerous reptiles.

    Taken altogether, while they had to endure many privations and hardships, it is doubtful whether the pioneers of any part of America were more fortunate in their selection than those of Erie county.

    (pages 116-137 not yet transcribed)


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    John Clough, John Woodside, William Duncan, John Eakens, George S. Russell, John E. Lapsley, Peter Grawosz, Jacob Carmack, Williarn Henderson, Robert Irwin, Ebenezer Dwintlell, Samuel Hays, Thornas Laird, John W. Bell, Robert McDonald, Thomas Hughes, Robert Brown, John Morris, George Buchler, William Lattimore, James E. Herron, Simeon Dunn, Adam Arbuckle, Stephen Wolverton, Francis Scott, Thomas Vance.

    Among those who came to Erie as shipbuilders and became permanent residents of the town were John Justice, John Richards and Jeremiah Osborne.


    Among the State militia who came on to defend Erie was James Bird, a young man from Center county. He volunteered for service in Perry's fleet and fought gallantly on the "Lawrence," receiving a severe wound.

    In the spring of 1814, a warehouse having been fitted up at the mouth of Mill creek, Bird was one of the guard assigned for its protection. He and John Rankin, another marine, took advantage of the opportunity to desert. They were recognized shortly after at a tavern in Mercer county, brought back to Erie, tried by court martial, and condemned to death. A sailor named John Davis, who had deserted several times, was tried and sentenced with them to the same fate.

    Their execution took place in October, 1814, on board the "Niagara," lying at anchor in Misery bay, Bird and Rankin being shot, and Davis hung at the yard arm. The bodies were interred on the sand beach, east of the mouth of Mill creek.



    C H A P T E R   XVIII.

    RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS -- CHURCH BUILDINGS -- SUNDAY-SCHOOLS -- OLD GRAVEYARDS -- CEMETERIES, ETC. -- (See Chapters VIII and IX Erie City; also Corry, Borough and Township Chapters.)

    THE Catholic priests who accompanied the French to this section in 1753 caused a small log chapel to be erected at Fort Presque Isle, and another within the walls of Fort LeBoeuf, at Waterford, in which the solemn rites of the mother church were regularly administered until the departure of the invading forces in 1569. As far as any record exists, these were the only religious services held within the bounds of Erie county previous to the year 1797.

    The first Protestant exercises of which there is any account took place at Colt's Station, in Greenfield township, on Sunday, the 2d of July, 1797. About thirty persons assembled in response to a general invitation. No minister was located within the bounds of the county, and the services were led by Judah Colt, founder of the settlement.


    In 1799 a tour was made through this section by Revs. McCurdy and Stockton, two missionaries who were sent out by the Ohio and Redstone Presbyteries. They visited Erie, Waterford and North East, and preached at each place. A period of two years ensued before the colonists were favored with another ministerial visitation, when Mr. McCurdy was again sent forth, assisted by Revs. Satterfield, Tate and Boyd, all of the Presbyteries above named. The first two reached Middlebrook, in Venango township, in August, 1801, and preached in a chopping that had been prepared for the purpose on the bank of French creek.

    The efforts of the two ministers met with such favor that it was resolved upon the spot that a meeting house should be put up within


                          AND  HISTORICAL  REFERENCE  BOOK  OF  ERIE  COUNTY.                      139

    the ensuing week. On the next Thursday the population for miles around gathered at the site that had been chosen, and by night had a rough log building under roof, the first house for Protestant worship erected in Erie county. This structure was succeeded by another and better one in 1802, known to every old settler as the Middlebrook Church. From Middlebrook, after organizing a congregation of eighteen members, Messrs. McCurdy and Satterfield continued their journey to Colt's Station and North East, where they were joined by Messrs. Tate and Boyd. At the latter place these four participated in the first sacrament of the Lord's Supper ever administered in Erie county, according to Protestant forms, on the 27th of September, 1801. An audience of about 800 had assembled, of whom some forty sat down to the tables. A congregation with the title of "The Churches of Upper and Lower Greenfield" was organized at the same time.

    The Erie Presbytery was established on the 2d of October, 1801, including the territory between the Ohio and Allegheny rivers and Lake Erie, extending some distance also west of the Ohio line. The Presbytery first met at Mt. Pleasant, Beaver county, on the 13th of April, 1802, seven ministers only being in attendance. Supplications were filed from Upper and Lower Greenfield, Middlebrook and Presque Isle. Revs. McCurdy, Satterfield and McPherrin were chosen missionaries.


    Rev. Robert Patterson, who had accepted a call from "The Churches of Upper and Lower Greenfield," was received by the Presbytery on the 30th of September, 1802. He returned to North East, and entered upon his pastoral work on the 31st of December. A log church was built at North East in 18()1, on the knoll now occupied by the cemetery of that borough. Mr. Patterson preached at Springfield during that year, and organized a preaching point there. The first church in the latter township was built in 1804 on the site of the cemetery at East Springfield.

    Rev. Johnson Eaton came on from the southern part of the State in April, 1805, and preached for some time at the mouth of Walnut creek and in Springfield. In the fall of that year he went back to his home, returning in 1806 with a bride, and settling permanently in Fairview township. He had the whole county for his field, but gave special attention to the people at Fairview and Springfield. In 1807 he succeeded Mr. Patterson at North East, and he also held occasional services for several years at Colt's Station, Middlebrook, Waterford and Erie. A church was built at the mouth of Walnut creek in 1810. During the war with Great Britain, Mr. Eaton gave his services to the government as a chaplain, besides ministering to his congregation with as much regularity as the unsettled condition of the time would allow. By 1816, the population of Erie had increased sufficiently to enable an arrangement to be made by which he gave one-third of his time to the congregation there, which had been organized by him September 15, 1815. He continued as pastor of the Erie congregation until 1823, and of the Fairview church until his death, on the 17th of June, 1847.

    In 1808, supplies were granted by the Presbytery to "Upper Greenfield, Middlebrook, Waterford and Erietown," and in 1809 it was reported to that body that none of these places could support a pastor.

    No regular preaching of any kind was had at Erie until Mr. Eaton was called to give one third of his time, as before stated.

    The Presbyterian congregation at Waterford was organized in 1809, and that at Union in 1811, being the first in those places. Rev. John Matthews was settled as pastor of the Waterford congregation October 17, 1810. The Union congregation did not put up a building till 1831, and that of Waterford till 1834. In 1817, Rev. Mr. Camp was employed as a missionary to supply the churches unable to support a pastor, and served in that capacity for two years. The minutes of the Presbytery in 1820 show congregations at Springfield, North East, Waterford, Middlebrook, Union, Fairview and Erie.


    Occasional services were held by members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at an early date in various portions of the county, but principally in the western and southwestern townships. The first of which there is any positive knowledge was led by Rev. Joseph Bowen, a local preacher, at the house of Mrs. Mershon, near West Springfield, in September,


    140                                NELSON'S  BIOGRAPHICAL  DICTIONARY                               

    180. A class was organized near Lexington, in Conneaut township, in 1801, and the same year a great revival was held at Ash's Corners, Washington township. The first church building erected was in 1804, about a mile south of West Springfield. The first quarterly meeting was held in that church in July, 1810. Meetings of the denomination in Erie were held by circuit preachers, at long intervals, commencing in 1801. Worship took place in the winter of 1810-11, in a tavern on the west side of French street, between sixth and Seventh. A congregation would seem to have been partially established soon after the beginning of the century, but was probably unable to support a pastor until 1826, at which period the First Church of Erie city dates its organization. The earliest of the other congregations in the county were those at Mill Village, organized in 1810, North East, in 1812, Fair Haven, Girard township, 1815; Girard borough, 1815; Waterford borough, 1816; Union City and Fairview, 1817; Middleboro, 1810; Northville, 1820; Wattsburg, 1827; Wesleyville, 1828.

    (the remainder of this section has not yet been transcribed)


    [ 281 ]

    C H A P T E R   I.


    CONNEAUT TOWNSHIP is one of the original subdivisions of Erie county. It is the extreme southwestern township of the county, and contains 27,582 acres. The population was 631 in 1810; 1,324, in 1830; 1,746, in 1840; 1,942, in 1850; 2,118, in 1860; 1,538, in 1870; 1,546, in 1880, and 1,386, in 1890. The decrease between 1800 and 1870 was due to the incorporation of Albion as a borough in 1801. 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 five postoffices, viz.: Pennside, Keepville, Tracy, Cherry Hill and Wannetta (Albion station, on the E. & P. R. R.). The township is divided, for election purposes, into the East and West districts.

    The township received its name 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 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.


    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, and 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 1809. 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 180(), Matthew Harrington, from Vermont; George Griffey and Andrew Cole, from Onondaga county, N. Y., and Stephen Randall and his son Sheffield, from Rensselaer county, N. Y.; in 1801, Robert McKee, from Cumberland county, Pa; in 1802, Henry Ball, from Fredericksburg, Va., Patrick Kennedy, his son Royal, and William Payne, from Connecticut, in 1803, Marsena Keep and son Marsena, from Montgomery county, N. Y.; in 180I, Joel Bradish and brothers, from New Yolk; 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 Sawdey and Isaac Pomeroy from Massachusetts, in 1818, David Sawdey. fiom Massachusetts, Abijah Barnes, from Cayuga county, N. Y., and Samuel Bradish; in 1819, Noah Kidder and son Francis, Edward DeWolf and Daniel Rossiter,


    282                                NELSON'S  BIOGRAPHICAL  DICTIONARY                               

    from New York, and Samuel Sawdey (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, Jonas 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 1837, 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, were 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 former 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. 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. The first recorded death was that of Mrs. Thomas Alexander, who expired in 1801. The oldest ladies who ever lived in the township were Mrs. Thomas Bowman, who died in the fall of 1862, aged near]y 92 years, and Mrs. Elias Palmer, who died in 1876, at the age of 94. Elias Pal was the oldest man. His death occurred in 1878, at which time he was 98 years of age.


    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 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, while the distance by an air line is not more than twenty-five miles. The valley of the creek forms the route of the Erie and Pittsburg R. R, through Conneaut township, and was utilized for the same purpose in laying out the old canal from Albion southward, the bed of which is now occupied in the main by the Pittsburg, Shenango and Lake Erie R. R. The length of Conneaut creek through 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 course 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


                          AND  HISTORICAL  REFERENCE  BOOK  OF  ERIE  COUNTY.                      283

    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 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, Harrington, Silverthorn, Keepville and Spaulding within the township proper. These include the public bridges only. All of the township bridges, with the exception of the Kennedy, which is of iron, are built of timber.


    The valley of Conneaut creek from Crawford county to Springfield varies in width from a third 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 was in forest until a comparatively recent date, when large companies went in and cut off most of the timber. Fruits of nearly all kinds are grown readily. The price of land varies greatly, being as low as fifteen dollars an acre in some localities and as high as fifty dollars in others.

    John P. Wallace, of Philadelphia, located in Meadville at an early day, as attorney for the Holland Land Company. In that capacity he took up tracts in various places, among them being one of 10,000 acres in the western part of Conneaut township. This property was sold 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, of the 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 as 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 in the name of the Wallace heirs to recover the property and a verdict was rendered against the Girard estate.

    The Moravian grant embraced between 400 and 600 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 circle, such as exist in Girard, Springfield, Harbor Creek, Fairview, Wayne and other townships of the county. It incloses 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, 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 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 20() pounds, and the lower bone of the leg, being compared with that of a person who was six feet four inches in height, was found to be nearly a foot longer. Another circle of a similar character existed on the Taylor farm -- later owned by J. L. Strong. On the Pomeroy place is also a peculiar mound, about 100 feet long, fifty wide and twenty-five high. It stands on the south side of a small stream, upon flat land, and is wholly detached from the adjacent bluff.


    The Pennsylvania-Erie canal, 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 P. S. &. L. E. R. R. The once noted Eleven-Mile Level, the longest on its line, reached from near Lockport, through


    284                                NELSON'S  BIOGRAPHICAL  DICTIONARY                               

    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 Erie and Pittsburg R. R. runs through the whole width of the township, 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 stations are Lexington, Albion Depot and Pennside.

    The Pittsburg, Shenango and Lake Erie R. R. crosses the township from north to south, branching at Cranesville, from which one line extends to Erie and the other to Conneaut Harbor. Its stations are Pennside, Keepville and Albion. There is also a station at Cranesville, just on the line between Conneaut and Elk Creek townships.

    The main common roads are the Lexington, 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 and Keepville; "Porky street," from Cherry Hill south; and the Creek road from Pomeroy's bridge to Crawford county.


    The mills and factories are: The Walnut Shade cheese factory on the State road three miles from Cherry Hill; Kennedy's brick yard and tile factory, near the Kennedy bridge, and a large sawmill at Pennside.

    No record is to be had of the earliest schools in the township. A school was held in a cabin on the farm of Nathaniel Pomeroy, about one and a half miles northwest from Albion about 1822. About 1823, a log school house was built in that neighborhood. A school was held at an early date near the site of Thornton's gristmill, in Albion borough. The building burned down about 1824.

    There is an old graveyard at Saulsbury's bridge, where a number of the early settlers are buried, and others at Keepville and near Kennedy's bridge. Most of the burials take place at East Springfield.


    Albion Depot (Wannetta P. O.) is on the Erie and Pittsburg R. R., twenty-six miles from Erie City, and about 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 postoffice store, church building, school house, 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 1803. Keepsville Wesleyan congregation was organized in 1854, Rev. John L. Moore being the first pastor. The church building was erected the same year, at a cost of $1,500.

    A Methodist Episcopal church, school house, two stores, 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 sawmill, on Conneaut creek, in Springfield township, are a little north of the village. The church was organized with about fifteen members, by the Rev. J. W. Wilson, in 1858, and the building was erected the same year at a cost of $1,250.

    When Col. McNair established his agency for the Population Company, in 1797, he laid out a town plat of 1,000 acres, at the big bend of Conneaut creek, near the present Springfield line, to which he gave the title of Lexington. Roads were laid, out, and, being the center of the of the company's operations in the west, Lexington in time became a village of no little pretension. .At one period it had a store, schoolhouse, hotel, distillery, and several residences. A postoffice was established in 1823, with David Sawdy as postmaster. The town went down and the postoffice was abandoned. All that exists to preserve the memory of the place is it small railroad station on the Erie and Pittsburg R. R.

    Pennside, on both of the railroads, just north of the Crawford county line, consists of a station house, sawmill, two stores, a Methodist Episcopal church building, a schoolhouse, blacksmith shop and some twenty houses. The town was started by John Avery


                          AND  HISTORICAL  REFERENCE  BOOK  OF  ERIE  COUNTY.                      285

    Tracy about ten years ago. The church was built about 1890 and the congregation is attached to Albion circuit.

    Tracy, once a bustling little place, named after the gentleman above referred to, has lost its former glory. It consists now of nothing but a schoolhouse, grocery and a few houses.

    Following is a list of the citizens of Conneaut township who have been elected to Legislative and county offices: Assembly -- David Sawdey, 1838; Humphrey A. Hills, 1853-54. Commissioner -- Abiather Crane, 1803 to 1805; John Salsbury, 1825 to 1828; David Sawdey, 1841 to 1844; Humphrey A. Hills 1847 to 1850; Garner Palmer, 1862 to 1865, and 1869 to 1872; Geo. C. Mills, elected in 1877 and 1880. Jury Commissioner, H. B. Brewster, elected in 1885. Mercantile Appraiser. Liberty Salsbury, 1872; S. D. Sawdey, appointed for 1892. County Auditor, W. J. Brockway, 1875 to 1878; S. D. Sawdey, elected in 1893. 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, being President of the Senate one term. D. A. Sawdey, Esq., the well-known Erie attorney, is a native of the township.



    Albion borough 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-five miles southwest of Erie by the Shenango R. R. The first settlers at Albion were Thomas Alexander, Patrick Kennedy, William Paine, Ichabod Baker and Lyman Jackson. Michael Jackson, son of Lyman, who built the first sawmill, did not become a permanent resident until 1815. William Sherman settled at Albion in 1827, coming from Herkimer county, N. Y. Thomas Thornton came from England at an early age, and settled in Albion about 1857. Of other old residents, E. W. Stuntz settled in 1815, coming from Kingsville, Ohio; Dr. J. S. Skeels, in 1848, from Spring, Crawford county; Dr. P. D. Flower, in 1856, from Harbor Creek; Dr. L. D. Davenport, in 1860, from Ellington Center, N. Y., and Jeduthan Wells, in 1857, from Wellsburg.

    Amos King built the first gristmill and Lyman Jackson taught the first school. The town was long known as Jackson's Cross Roads, and the postoffice 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), 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 1873, which resulted in the removal of the business to Miles Grove.

    Albion was incorporated as a borough in 1801, taking in a section of Conneaut township exactly a mile square. It then contained 443 inhabitants. The population in 1870 was 462, 433 in 1880, and 360 in 1890. The first borough officers were elected in March, 1861, Perry Kidder being chosen Burgess. Albion is an important station of the P., S. & L. E. R. R., which passes through the borough.


    The religious denominations are Methodist Episcopal, Disciple, Catholic and Congregational. The First Methodist Episcopal church in this vicinity stood about three-fourths of a mile west of Albion, and was built more than sixty 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 the famous Calvin Kingsley. The congregation decided, in November, 1894, to enlarge and improve the building.

    Catholic services have been held at Albion for a long period. Forty years ago the society was an old one. The membership includes about twenty-five families. The charge has generally been supplied by priests from Crossingville and Conneautville. The congregation has no building.

    A Disciple congregation was organized in the spring of 1880 by Rev. Clarence J. Cushman


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    The class is small, but has a frame church edifice partially finished.

    A Congregational society was formed January 23, 1893, and has taken steps toward the erection of a building.


    The borough contains a good two-story school building, a Masonic Hall and an Odd Fellows' Hall.

    The school building was erected in 1868 at a cost, inclusive of furniture and apparatus, of $7,000. Previous to that, the borough schools were held in the academy, built in 1838.

    Albion Lodge, No. 376, I. O. O. F., was instituted Scptember 14, 1849, with eight charter members. 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. The hall Nvas rebuilt about 1885.

    Western Star I,odge, No. 304, F. & A. M., was chartered December 1, 1856. It owns the second floor of the building, built in 1874, in which the meetings are held.

    Albion I,odge, No. 88, Ancient Order of United Workmen, was instituted March 10, 1875, with about twenty members.

    Albion Union, No. 101, Equitable Aid, was chartered with thirty-one members May 27, 1880.

    Mystic Circle, of the Protected Home Circle, was started in 1894.

    Conneaut Grange commenced holding meetings in Albion in the spring of 1893.

    Camp 67 of the State Police was organized in 1893.


    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 Kiing and was purchased by Joshua Thornton. It was destroyed by fire July 15, 1889, and rebuilt in the summer of 1890. The woolen-mill was erected by W. H. Gray in 1840, burned in 1876 and rebuilt in 1880 by Thomas Thornton. Michael Jackson built a rake factory in 1846. It was overhauled and much extended by George Van Riper & Co., and burned down in the fall of 1891. An oar factory was built by Henry Salisbury and Reuben McLallen in 1859. It burned down on the 1st of March, l868, was rebuilt by Frank Wells the same year, and again fell a victim to the flames. Thc creamery, hoop and lumber-mill and a sawmill were started in 1895.

    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. It is still in operation, under the vigorous management of Mr. Davenport.

    The Sherman House was built in 1828 by Benjamin Nois. It passed into the hands of William Sherman some time after, who contined as its proprietor about fifty years. The house has long been managed by his son, Mott Sherman.

    Albion has furnished the following public officials: Assembly, Orlando Logan, 1875-6; Clerk to the Directors of the Poor, J. A. Robison, appointed January 1, 1888; Clerk to the County Commissioners, J. A. Robison, appointed January l, 1890.

    The borough has a cemetery for general burial purposes, but it is hardly what would be expected of the community. Steps were taken in September, 1895, to secure a cemetery that will be more in accord with the times.

    (Pages 287-291 have not yet been transcribed)


    [ 292 ]

    C H A P T E R   IV.


    ELI COLTON, the first settler in Elk Creek township, moved in from Granby, Conn., early in 1797. During the spring of 1798 or 1799 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. 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 Alers, 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 and finally in Elk Creek. 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, Connecticut, 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 and Edmund Goodenow, from Oneida county, New York; Sylvester Hubbard, from Tompkins county, New York; Samuel Sherman and family, from Herkimer county, New York; John Warner, from Massachusetts, and Wilson Cole, from Chautauqua county, New York; in 1833, John Stafford, from Oneida county, New York, 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, New York. 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, 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.


    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 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.

    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, 1,045 in 1840, 1,535 in 1850, 1,462 in 1870, 1,504 in 1880 and 1,325 in 1890. The villages are Wellsburg, Cranesville, Pont and Pageville, and the postoffices are Lundy's Lane (Wellsburg), Cranesville, Pont, Little Elk, and Lavery.


                          AND  HISTORICAL  REFERENCE  BOOK  OF  ERIE  COUNTY.                      293

    The lands of Elk Creek 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 well watered, being the sources of numerous small streams. Land ranges in value from twenty to forty dollars.

    The mills and factories outside of Wellsburg and Cranesville are as follows: A cheese factory at Population Corners, a butter factory each at Pont and Lavery and a sawmill near the "Devil's Backbone."

    The P., S. & L. E. R. R. runs through the northwestern portion of the township, having a station at Cranesville.

    For election purposes, the township is divided into the North and South Districts.


    The State and county officers have been as follows: County Commissioner, elected in 1866, Stephen J. Godfrey; Richard Powell, elected in 1881. County Superintendent from 1869 to 1878, C. C. Taylor (changed to Waterford). Assembly, elected in 1884-6, Thomas Osborn. Director of the Poor, elected in 1887, Daniel Roberts. Mercantile Appraiser, 1871, Stephen J. Godfrey; 1885, George J. Powell; 1886, O. W. Irish. County Auditor, elected in 1881, George Manton. George W. Colton, Clerk to the Commissioners from 1852 to November, 1863, and Prothonotary from his resignation of the latter office to 1867, was a native of the township, but removed to Erie before he was chosen to the first position. O. H. Irish, once Superintendent of Government Printing at Washington, was also a native of Elk Creek.


    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.

    Elk Creek township 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 numerous in the vicinity. The West branch of Elk creek, generally known as Little Elk, has its source near the center and runs north into Girard, where it connects with the main stream a little below "The Devil's Backbone." In the southeast are the headwaters of the Cussewago, which pursues a southerly course and joins French creek near Meadville. 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.


    The church buildings are at Wellsburg, Cranesville, Pont and Pageville, except the Elk Creek Baptist, near the Franklin line, and the Little Brick or Randall United Brethren, about a mile north of Cranesville. The latter congregation was organized about 1853. A society, known as the Union, which has been in existence many years, meets in a school house in the south part of the township. The Elk Creek Baptist Church was erected in 1867 or '68. It is located at the intersection of the Population and Crane roads, the former here forming the boundary between Franklin and Elk Creek townships. The society was organized in 1800.

    There is a considerable Catholic population in the portion of the township bordering on Crawford county, who worship at the church in Cussewago. They are mainly of Irish nativity or descent.

    Probably the first school in the township was taught by Maxon Randall, in his log cabin a mile north of Cranesville, about 1815. One and a half miles south of Wellsburg stood a log schoolhouse in which Miss Becky Reese taught about 1817. Immediately south of Wellsburg a Mr. Higgins taught about 1820. The Sawdey schoolhouse, in the northwest corner of the township, was built about 1823, but has been slightly changed in location. A log structure, used as a schoolhouse stood at Cranesville in the early days on the site afterward used as the postoffice.

    There is an independent school district composed of portions of Elk Creek and Franklin townships.


    294                                NELSON'S  BIOGRAPHICAL  DICTIONARY                               


    Wellsburg, in the narrow valley of the East branch of Conneaut creek, is situated at the crossing of the Girard and Meadville by the Albion and 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 gristmill and several sawmills. 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, when cheaper salt was furnished from Onondaga, N. Y., which caused the abandonment of the well. The village was laid out by Otis Wells. Wellsburg is twenty-five miles from Erie, nine miles south of Girard, one each from Cranesville and Albion, and two miles from Albion Station. It contains a hotel, a good school building, two flouring mills and a furniture factory. The place was of a good deal of business and importance some years ago, but has been injured by the lack of railroad facilities. Its postoffice 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.

    The Free Will Baptist congregation was organized May 5, 1839. Its Sabbath-school has been in continuous operation over forty years. The denomination has a good building, with tower and bell.

    The Universalist congregation was organized in June, 1838, and held meetings for a while in the academy. Their building was erected in 1855, and improved in 1871.

    A mission of the Episcopal Church is sustained, under the direction of St. Paul's Church of Erie.

    A Methodist Episcopal society was organized at Wellsburg in early times. About 1835, it erected a frame meeting house on the summit of the hill between Wellsburg and Cranesville. This 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 society was organized in 1833. Its church edifice was erected in 1854.

    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 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. It 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 and Meadville road, and almost on the Conneaut line. The old Erie canal passed through the village and it is an important station of the P., S. and L. E. R. R. The culvert between Albion and Cranesville, by which the canal crossed the East branch -- an excellent pile of masonry -- is now used for a township roadway.

    The M. E. Church building was erected in 1874. 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 at or nearly the same date.

    Four miles southeast of Wellsburg, at the forks of the Crossingville road, is the once famous place of Pageville, the scene, a number of years ago, of quite 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, which shipped goods to all parts of America and Europe. On its suspension the place declined, and it is now not much more than a recollection.

    The Baptist congregation at Pageville was organized in 1839, and put up its building in 1875, services in the meantime being held in the schoolhouse.

    There is also a Methodist Episcopal congregation which has been in existence many years.

    Pont is quite a settlement near the Crawford county line, having, in addition to other structures, a United Brethern Church and a butter factory. The church was built in 1894.

    Lavery consists of a butter factory, schoolhouse, store and a few houses.

    (Pages 295-301 have not yet been transcribed)


    [ 302 ]

    C H A P T E R   VII.


    GIRARD TOWNSHIP was carved out of Elk Creek, Fairview and Springfield in 1832, receiving its name from Stephen Girard, the Philadelphia millionaire, who held a large body of land in the adjoining township of Conneaut. The old line between Fairview and Springfield ran through the township parallel with the present line dividing Elk Creek and Conneaut. Girard township is bounded on the north by I,ake 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-eighths 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 and 2,280 in 1890, inclusive of Miles Grove in the latter year, which was credited with 570 inhabitants. The villages are Miles Grove and West Girard, and the postoffices are Miles Grove, Francis, and Fairplain. The township is divided on the line of the "Nickel Plate" R. R. into two election districts -- the north one being known as Miles Grove and the south one as Girard.


    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 located at the mouth of Elk creek, but in 1804 he moved to Weigleville, and from there to Erie. These parties were followed in 1800 by Robert Porter, Isaac Miller and John Kelley. Mr. Kelley moved to West Mill Creek in 1802. 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 17. William and Samuel McClelland and William Crane, natives of Ireland, took up lands in 1802; John Miller, from Fayette county, the same year, George Kelley, from Mifflin county, in 1803; Joel Bradish and brothers, from Saratoga county, New York, and James Blair, from Fayette county, in 1804; Martin Taylor, from Chautauqua county, New York, in 1813, William Webber, from Genesee county, New York, 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,


                          AND  HISTORICAL  REFERENCE  BOOK  OF  ERIE  COUNTY.                      303

    Vt., in 1816; Elijah Drury, from Genesee county, New York, in 1817; Ethan Loveridge and Nathan Sherman, from Oneida county, New York, in 1818; Joseph Long, from Massachusetts, in 1825; Matthew Anderson, from Chenango county, New York, in 1830; George Traut, from Columbia county, New York, in 1831; James Miles, from Union township, and Titus Pettibone, from Wyoming county, New York, in 1832; William Kirkland, in 1833, and Joshua Evans and family from Summit township in 1837. Among other early settlers, the date of whose arrival is not ascertained, were Messrs. Taggart, Pickett, Badger, Martin, Wells, Clark, Laughlin and Woverton. 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, Isaac and Abraham Silverthorn located among the first, and Thomas Miles about 1801. John Randall kept a tavern at the mouth of Elk creek in 1804.

    John R. Ward was the first male child, and a daughter of Robert Brown, who married Geo. A. Eliot, of Erie, the first female child born in the township. The county 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. Girard township claims the honor of having had the second oldest person in the county -- Patrick Ward, who died at the age of 105.

    For a sketch of William Miles, the pioneer of the Miles family, see Union City.


    It is generally agreed 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, but on the ridge it becomes gravely. 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, grape and berry country. Land is valued at from $100 to $125 per acre along the Ridge road, from sixty to $100 along the Lake road, and from twenty-five to sixty dollars in the south part of the township.

    The main thoroughfares are the Lake road the Ridge road, 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 is one of the finest in the county, having a 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 horses. Alter the opening of the railroad in 1852, few persons cared to travel by coach, and the stage line was soon abandoned.


    The Lake Shore R. R. traverses the 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 culvert and filling. The only station of this road is at Miles Grove, or Girard Station, as it is more generally known to travelers.

    The Erie and Pittsburg R. R. intersects the Lake Shore almost a mile west of Miles Grove, running north and south 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. This station is the depot for the village of East Springfield, from which it is a mile and a half distant.

    The New York, Chicago and St. Louis R. R. ("Nickel Plate") passes through the township from east to west, crossing the Elk creek valley by an iron bridge, within sight from Girard borough. Its station is between the borough and Miles Grove, a little east of the latter place.

    The Pittsburg, Shenango and Lake Erie R. R. ("Peasley") comes in from the south and connects with the "Nickel Plate" north of Girard borough, through which it passes and which is its station.

    The old Erie canal entered Girard on the


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    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 Hall's run southward. Its route; in the main, is followed by the "Peasley" road from the Lake Shore plain southward.


    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 Little Elk 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, and Spring run empties into Elk creek southwest of Miles Grove. The valley of the chief stream is narrow and precipitous in the eastern portion of the township, but further west and north it widens out with steep bluffs on both sides. At the junction of the Little Elk there is a high peak, resembling part of a Roman profile, with its base at the water's edge, which has received the title of "The Devil's Nose." A short distance south is the natural curiosity, famous over the western portion of the county as "The Devil's Backbone." The Little Elk 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 loop. At the narrowest place, the crest or backbone is not more than two feet across, and the height is over 100 feet. 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 part of Springfield, and empties into Lake Erie about three-fourths of a mile beyond the village of North Springfield. It has a course of some ten miles.


    The mouth of Elk creek figured extensively in the early plans of public 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 eastern route by way of Waterford, or the western one by way of Girard. The Legislature, 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 settled in favor of the former. On the third of March, 1837, pending the decision in regard to the terminus, a contract was entered into between James Miles, Thaddeus Stevens, 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, and $95,000 from the sale of lots; 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 curious testimony came out in the course of the trial.

    While the country was being cleared, the mouth of Elk creek was considerable of a shipping place for staves and lumber. A warehouse formerly stood on the lake shore for the convenience of trade. Quite a fishery is now maintained at the outlet of the stream.


    The mills and factories of the township -- not naming for the present those of Miles Grove -- are as follows: On Elk creek -- Nason's gristmill, at the mouth of Spring run; the West Girard grist, saw and cider mills, and a planing mill, sash and blind factory at the same place. On Spring run, Thornton's Woolen-mill and Brown Bros.' hand rake factory and cider-mill. A gristmill is said to have been established on this stream by Mr. Silverthorn, as early as 1799. On Brandy run, Rossiter's tannery; on one of the lake streams, Godfrey's sawmill. The first mill on Elk creek, within Girard township, was built at West Girard in 1814, by Peter Wolverton. It burned down while owned by Mr. Rowley and was rebuilt.

    Southwest of Girard borough, the remains of all ancient mound are or were lately to be


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    seen, which was one of a chain of four, extending in a southwesterly direction through East Springfield toward Ohio. These mounds are exactly alike, consisting of round earthwork inclosing a space of about three-fourths of an acre, with apertures at regular intervals. Similar remains 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, some of which were in an excellent state of preservation. The animal was estimated to have been fifteen feet long, exclusive of tusks, and about thirteen feet high.


    The churches of the township, outside of Miles Grove, are two Methodist, one United Brethren and one Christian.

    The Methodist Episcopal Church at Fair Haven, in the southwest part of the township, was organized January 7, 1815, at the house of Mr. Webber, and reorganized in 1860. The building was put up in 1861.

    The church of the same denomination at Fairplain, on the Lake road, was organized in 1840 and erected its building in 1811.

    The Church of the United Brethren, on the State road, near the Elk Creek township line, was organized in 1870.

    The Christian Church building is on the Population road, on the line between Girard and Franklin.

    The cemetery at Girard is the common burial place of the township, but a number of small graveyards exist in various sections.

    A loghouse stood in the southwestern part of the township, in which school was taught in 1819 or 1820. This building was destroyed by fire and another was erected in the same locality. Many years ago there was a log schoolhouse about three-quarters of a mile south of the village of Lockport. About 1822 school was taught in a frame building on the Ridge road at the foot of Girard Hill. Another was held in a private house, one mile east of Girard about 1823.


    The village of Miles Grove, or Girard Station, as it is known to the traveling public, is situated on the Lake Shore R. R., a little over a mile east of the intersection of the Erie and Pittsburg R. R., one and three-quarter miles north of Girard and sixteen by rail west of Erie. Its population was 471 by the census of 1880, and 570 by that of 1890.

    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 an impetus by the completion of the Erie and Pittsburg R. R., which 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 Miles Grove, part in 1874, and the balance in 1876, the citizens subscribing $4,000 to $5,000 to induce their removal. The industry, or rather a portion of it, was originally established at Albion, at which place a fire destroyed the handle department in 1873, when the entire business was transferred to Miles Grove.

    The Novelty Works were started in 1883, being owned respectively by the Novelty Manufacturing Company (limited), and the Keystone Manufacturing Company, and continued until 1892, when the business was removed to Saginaw, Mich. The buildings remain, but are not in use at the time of writing.

    The Ideal Foundry was established by Mr. Hanchett in 1890 or '91, and has done a good business.

    The village contains an Episcopal, a Presbyterian and a Methodist Church, a fine schoolhouse, a copper tempering works, a hotel -- the Lommer House -- built by A. M. Osborn, in 1865, and a number of stores and shops. The Lake Shore R. R. has valuable improvements at Miles Grove.

    The home of the Miles family, in the valley 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.

    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


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    land donated by J. Robert Hall, agent of the latter's estate. The first services of this congregation were held in 1860, but there was no regular rector until 1862.

    The Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1867. It was originally used in part by the Presbyterians. James Sampson donated the land on which the building stands.

    The Presbyterian Church was built in the winter of 1885-6, at a cost of $10,000, all but $1,600 of the sum being contributed by Mr. A. Denio. The title to the church property is vested in the trustees of the First Presbyterian congregation of Girard borough, with the condition that at any time the Miles Grove congregation feel able to sustain a separate organization and minister the property is to become their's. For twenty years the pastor of the Girard Church has officiated at Miles Grove, the latter contributing at present about one-third of the sum necessary to his support.


    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 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 grist mill, a planing mill and sash and blindfactory, and a sawmill. The village contains thirty houses, and 135 inhabitants. An iron bridge over Elk creek marks the site of two or three other bridges which have been washed away by the destructive floods of that stream.



    At the close of the last 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 parties commenced building on the present site, and it was not long until a town was laid out. 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 census gave Girard a population of 400 in 1850, 616 in 1800, 704 in 1870, 703 in 1880, and 626 in 1890.

    Girard occupies a pleasant site along the Ridge road, which constitutes its main street on high ground overlooking the lake shore plain and the 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. The old Erie canal passed through the borough by a deep cut. Its route is now mainly occupied by the "Peasley" R. R., of which Girard is an important station.


    The Methodist Church, which has few superiors in this county, was erected in 1868 at a cost of $30,000. The congregation was organized in 1815, and built its first edifice in 1828.

    A Presbyterian Church, to which a graveyard was attached, was erected in 1835, the congregation having been organized May 16th of that year. This building was remodeled in 1893, at a cost of $8,500.

    St. John's Catholic congregation was organized about the year 1853, and soon after put up a church building. The congregation was attended by visiting priests for a number of years. A regular pastor was supplied in 1870, who also has charge of the congregation


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    at North East. Rev. Father Briody is the present pastor in charge.

    The Universalist society was organized some years previous to 1852, in which year they erected their church building.

    St. Johannis congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized in 1866, and purchased the ground and building occupied by the Methodist Episcopal society prior to that date, in 1869.


    The Girard cemetery is a tract of ten acres, containing many costly monuments. The organization was chartered in March, 1861, and the property was laid out the same year.

    The Girard Academy was built by subscription in 1850 and opened in 1851. It had a students' boarding house attached, and for awhile was very successful. The property was transferred to the school board about twenty-five years ago, and has since been occupied by the common schools of the borough. The latter were graded in the winter of 1872-3.

    The first school that was held in Girard township was taught in what is now Girard borough in the year 1809. In 1827, the village school was held on the lower floor of a log building that stood a little to the rear of the site of the drug store of Smith & Lowe.


    The hotels of Girard borough are the Avenue House, finished in 1879, and the Rhodes House, which has been in operation forty years. Girard has been 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 one for taverns, there having been no less than eight, within two miles, in 1835.

    The wrench factory was built in 1874 by a corporation under the State laws, with a capital of $8,000, the people of Girard subscribing half the stock. It failed in 1875, and was purchased at sheriff's sale by C. F. Rockwell, W. C. Culbertson, C. F. Webster and R. S. Battles, forming a limited partnership.

    Theo. J. Ely's novelty works started in 1892, using the old furniture factory as a basis. The establishment burned in the summer of 1894, and was rebuilt and enlarged the same year.


    The public square was a gift from Joseph Wells, when the town was laid out. Its chief object of interest is the soldiers' monument, a handsome shaft of marble, designed by the 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 principal speakers at its dedication were Gov. Curtin, of Pennsylvania, Gov. Todd, of Ohio, and Gen. Alfred B. McCalmont, of Franklin. It is claimed that this was the first monument erected to the memory of the Union soldiers.

    The Dan Rice property, on the north side of the square, embraced two and a half acres, inclosed on three sides by a heavy brick wall, and ornamented with statuary, walks, arbors, trees, shrubbery and flowers. The mansion was a large frame building. Within the inclosure was 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 the original premises 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 cost of about $60,000. He lost the property through financial embarrassment and it is now owned by Carl Jones, who tore down the old house and built another.


    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; W. C. Culbertson, elected to Congress in 1888; Theo. Ryman, 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


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    States Register in Bankruptcy for this Congressional District from 1867 to 1879; U. P. Rossiter, elected District Attorney in 1893

    George W. Evans, elected Sheriff in 1894, Calvin L. Randall, elected Register and Recorder in 1884 and '87; James C. Marshall, Prothonotary from January 14 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, and J. M. Ball in 1891; Wm. Biggers, Jury Commissioner from January l, 1880, to January 1, 1883; George Platt, County Surveyor many years and present City Engineer of Erie; John Hay, Director of the Poor from 1853 to '57, and Wm. Hopkins from 1890 to 1893; James Miles, County Auditor from 1810 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. D. W. Hutchinson was Register of the United States Land Office at Bismarck, Dak., during the first Cleveland administration, and Marcus N. Cutler held a clerkship at Harrisburg during a long period. T. C. Wheeler was United States Assistant Assessor for nine years, being appointed under President Lincoln. Mr. Osborn, above named, was Keeper of the Marine Hospital at Erie for several years, ending in 1883. Mr. Marshall moved to Erie in 1844 and Mr. Woodruff about l 872.


    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. 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 1867, 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 gave it a reputation the country over. After a brief suspension, it was bought 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 purchased the interest of his brother. The office passed into the hands of Murphy & Nichols November 28, 1889, who have conducted the paper since.

    The first bank was organized in 1859 by R. S. Battles and C. F. Webster. The firm dissolved in 1876 and Mr. Battles has continued the business. The First National Bank was organized in 1863, and kept up until its charter expired. Mr. Battles was cashier during the whole period of its existence, managing both the National and private banks.


    The secret societies are Lake Erie Lodge, No. 847, F. & A. M., a Harugari lodge, a Mystic Circle and a lodge of the United Workmen.

    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 Dan 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 employee of Rice's; Charles W. Noyes, one of his pupils; Abe Henderson, Agrippa Martin and Seymour Pease, all at one time owners or part owners of 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.

    Henry Ball, Esq., who died on the 12th of March, 1895, was known as one of the oldest Justices of the Peace in Pennsylvania. He was first elected in 1852, and held the office from that date until his death, a period of forty-three years.

    The Robert Wilcox Library, one of the


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    most creditable features of the borough, owes its origin to the liberality of Robert Wilcox, a native of Girard, who bequeathed $5,000 for the purpose. The building was dedicated on the 3d of May, 1895.

    Denman Thompson, the celebrated comedian, was born near the borough of Girard on the 15th of October, 1833, of New Hampshire stock. His most famous part was in the play of the "Old Homestead," which he partially wrote, and which had a degree of popular favor second only to "Uncle Tom's Cabin." He closed his theatrical career in New York in 1895, at the age of 62, after being on the stage nearly forty-five years.



    The postoffice name of Lockport is Platea. The town started about 1840, during the construction of the canal, and derives its name 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 borough is about four and a half miles from Girard and four from Albion. The town owes its origin to the enterprise of Silas Pratt, who had a 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. 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 eighty wide. He became embarrassed about 1855, went South and was found dead in the woods of Florida. The factory building was moved to Erie after the war. A fire in 1871 swept away one hotel, some two years later the foundry was burned; and in 1876 the second and last hotel fell a prey to the same destructive element.

    Lockport was incorporated as a borough in 1870, taking in about 1700 acres, of which the chief portion is farming land. Its population then was estimated at 500, but had been reduced to 346 in 1880, and was on]y 240 in 1890. The territory included in the borough limits was originally a portion of Elk Creek township, and after the organization of Girard township, formed its southern central part.

    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 or near 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. No regular service was held for some years, but an effort is being made to revive the congregation.

    The Methodist Episcopal congregation 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 used in the construction of the present edifice.

    The P., S. and L. E. R. R. runs through and has a station in the borough.

    The town has a cheese factory (established in 1876), a planing mill, a sawmill and a cider mill. A tannery was started by Wm. Aldrich in 1818, and an oar factory by Mr. Rowley in 1800, both of which have gone down.

    (Pages 310-344 have not yet been transcribed)


    [ 345 ]

    C H A P T E R   XV.


    SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, one of the original sixteen, is the most northwesterly in the county. It is bounded on the north by Lake Erie, on the east by Girard and Conneaut townships, on the south by Conneaut, and on the west by Ashtabula county, Ohio. Up to the year 1835, 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 the condition that Springfield should pay one-half of the expenses 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 in 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, 1,792 in 1880 and 1,642 in 1890, inclusive of the borough of East Springfield. Its greatest length is about seven and a half and its greatest width about six and a quarter miles. The villages of West Springfield and North Springfield both have postoffices of the same name. East Springfield, the most populous place in the township, was created a borough in 1887. The old State line of Pennsylvania, before the purchase of the Triangle, terminated on the Hewitt farm in Springfield, between four and five miles east of the Ohio boundary.


    Captain Samuel Holliday, of Franklin county, the first settler in the township, 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


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    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 Pittsburg to Erie, and from there along the beach of the lake to the mouth of Crooked creek. 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. 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, New York, Anderson Hubbard, of Ohio, and Luke Thayer, of Massachusetts; in 1816, Benjamin Carr, of Essex county, New York; in 1817, John Albert, of Cattaraugus county, New York; in 1818, David Ellis, of Massachusetts, and Derby Walter and Ezekiel Currier, both of Lyme, New Hampshire; 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 1822 Wm. Doty, of North East; in 1824, A. Whiton, of Ashtabula county, Ohio; in 1826, John Mausell, of Otsego county, New York, and Peter Simmons; in 1829, Geo. Simmons, of Saratoga county, New York; in 1830, Lorenzo Harvey, of New York, William H. Townsend, of Washington county, New York, and Selah Walbridge, of Vermont; in 1831, I. Pond, of New York, and Seymour Devereaux, of North Last; in 1832, Scott Keith, of Girard, Pennsylvania, Stephen Warner, of Genesee county, New York, 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 1836, Clark Baldwin, of Vermont, Thomas Potter, of New York, and E. R. Hedden and William Church, both of New Jersey; in 1836, Thomas Webster, of Washington county, New York; 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, New York; in 1854, Joel Day, of Wyoming county, New York. Mr. Brindle, like Captain Holliday, first came on in 1800, located lands, went back and brought his family the next spring. Jesse Miller removed to Mercer county in a few years.

    The first female white child was Elizabeth Holliday, born May 14, 1798; the first male 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 was the first in the old Presbyterian graveyard.


    Mr. McIntyre, who died in 1867, at the age of 95, brought the first potatoes planted in the township, carrying them in a sack thrown over his back, the entire distance from Pittsburg. In 1802, a barrel of salt cost Robert McKee fifty Spanish dollars. It had to be brought from Buffalo to Erie in a 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. It was frequently called out, but was never in an engagement. Some time during the campaign, a rumor that the enemy had landed at the mouth of Conneaut creek created the utmost consternation in the infant settlement. Several families fled, and others had preparations made for a hasty departure. Luckily the report proved to be false.


                          AND  HISTORICAL  REFERENCE  BOOK  OF  ERIE  COUNTY.                      347


    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 lies along the Ridge road, in the vicinity of East Springfield. A mile or less west, 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. 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 into Ohio, with a width ranging from 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. Large quantities of potatoes are produced, and many carloads are shipped annually. The lake shore farms are valued at thirty to $100 per acre, the Ridge road at forty to $100, and the back country from twenty to forty-five dollars.

    The Moravian grant embraced 2,797 acres in Springfield and Conneaut, extending from the lake to 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 chief stream of Springfield is Conneaut creek, which forms its entire southern boundary. The stream does not receive a single tributary in the township. Next in importance is Crooked creek, which rises in or near Lockport, runs in a general northwesterly course, through the southern portion of Girard and the northeastern of Springfield, and falls into the lake about half a mile beyond North Springfield, having a length of some ten miles. Raccoon creek heads near Conneaut creek, and flowing north, after a course of about six miles, reaches the lake at Eagley's Grove. Turkey run takes its rise 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.

    Five substantial covered bridges span Conneaut creek, built, owned and maintained by the two townships. The Lake Shore R. R. 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 Nickel Plate R. R. crosses the Crooked creek valley by an expensive iron bridge.

    The mills are as follows: Harrington's (formerly Porter's) grist and sawmill, on Conneaut creek, half a mile north of Cherry Hill; Strong's grist and sawmill, on Crooked creek, north of East Springfield; Reed's sawmill, on the Ridge road near West Springfield, and a planing, cider and feed-mill, about a mile northeast of the latter place. The first mill owner in the township was Capt. Holliday, who built a sawmill about 1801 or 1802, and a gristmill in 1803, near the mouth of Crooked creek, both of which have gone down. The Strong mills were built by Andrew Cochran about 1820 and rebuilt by Thomas Webster about 1841 or 1842, who ran them until his death, in 1860, when they fell into the hands of Joseph M. Strong, and are now operated by his son. The Harrington mill was built by Comfort Hay about 1823. A sawmill on the site of the old Lines' mill was started in 1814 and was followed by the gristmill about 1832. A cheese factory was started at West Springfield in 1874 and burned down.


    348                                NELSON'S  BIOGRAPHICAL  DICTIONARY                               


    The academy in West Springfield was founded in 1855, burned down in December, 1869, and rebuilt of brick two or three years subsequently. The one in East Springfield was built as a rival to the other, in 1856. Both were at one period quite noted schools and had a large attendance. The North Springfield academy was established in 1866, after the two others had run down. All are now used as graded common schools.

    One of the first schoolhouses was built at an early day on the 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 East Springfield. About the year 1822 a school was held in a vacated log cabin located in the Ferguson neighborhood, some 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. About the year 1827 a frame schoolhouse stood in the Vandeventer neighborhood, some two and half miles southwest of East Springfield.

    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, in 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. It was originally the burial ground of the Presbyterian Church, to which other land was added by purchase. The cemetery was surveyed and graded in 1864, and the first sale of lots was in October of that year. The first body interred in the cemetery proper was that of Henry Keith, which was placed in the inclosure in August, 1864.

    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 were on the Oney farm, about a mile southwest of East Springfield, and on the McKee place, half a mile further west. They were all in a direct line from northeast to southwest, and were 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, being probably excelled by no other township in the country.


    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; I. Newton Miller, 1870. Associate Judge, William Cross, November 22, 1861, to November 8, 1866. Prothonotary, Maj. S. V. Holliday, elected in 1881 and '84. 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, Thos. T. Devore, December 23, 1858, to December 20, 1860. County Commissioner, Thomas R. Miller, 1831-34; Richard Robinson, 1852-55. Director of the Poor, Thomas R. Miller, 1840-42 (John Spaulding was elected in 1856, but refused to serve). County Auditor, John Eagley, 1848-51; L. W. Savage, elected in 1884. Mercantile Appraiser, Samuel Rea, jr., 1858; Perry Devore, 1862; C. C. Holliday, 1887; M. Z. Sherman, 1891. 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.

    Humphrey A. Hills, County Commissioner from 1847-50, Deputy Marshal for taking the census in 1850, and Assemblyman in 1852-53, became a resident of Springfield in 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. Among other natives of the township are A. E. Sisson, District Attorney from 1888 to 1894, and Col. E. P. Gould, elected to the Assembly in 1894, both being residents of Erie at the time. Maj. Holliday was Commissioner of Customs, with location in Washington, during the last Harrison administration.


    Springfield has the advantage of two through lines of railroad -- the Lake Shore and


                          AND  HISTORICAL  REFERENCE  BOOK  OF  ERIE  COUNTY.                      349

    the Nickel Plate -- which cross the township from Girard into Ohio. The Lake Shore has a station in North Springfield, and the Nickel Plate one each for East and West Springfield. The Erie and Pittsburg R. R. 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 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.

    Previous to the opening of the Lake Shore R. R. the travel on the Ridge road was very extensive, requiring numerous hotels for its accommodation. Scott Keith opened a public house at East Springfield in 1832, which was destroyed by fire some years ago. 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 1804. It is no longer used for hotel purposes.

    The East Springfield postoffice, the first in the township, was established many years ago. The postoffice at West Springfield was established in 1838 or 1839, and the one at North Springfield some time after 1860. On the night of the 6th of December, 1874, the office at West Springfield 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.


    The churches are Presbyterian, Methodist Episcopal and Christian in East Springfield, and Methodist Episcopal and Baptist in West Springfield.

    The first Methodist Episcopal services in the county were held in the house of John Mershon, in Springfield township, in September, 1800. About 1804 a church building was put up something like a mile south of West Springfield. A second society was formed in 1815 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, 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 in 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 in West Springfield was built in 1854, and the one in East Springfield about 1866.

    The first Presbyterian edifice was a small log building which stood on the old portion of the cemetery grounds. A preaching point was established in Springfield in 1804, and the building referred to was put up the same year. The congregation was organized in 1806, and the present building was erected in 1844.

    The Christian Church was organized in 1826, and put up its building in 1839.

    The Baptist congregation was organized in 1826, and erected a church in 1833. 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 provided in West Springfield in 1858.

    The Universalists organized a congregation in West Springfield in 1848, and built a house of worship in 1850, which burned down October 2, 1889. Since then the body has practically broken up.


    West Springfield at the junction of the Albion with the Ridge road, is three miles east of the Ohio line, four west of East Springfield, and twenty-five by common road from Erie. The Nickel Plate railroad station at this place is known as Crayton.

    North Springfield has sprung up within the last forty years on the Lake Shore R. R., just west of Crooked creek embankment, about


    350                                NELSON'S  BIOGRAPHICAL  DICTIONARY                               

    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. Its station was established in 1852, the year the road was opened.



    East Springfield was created a borough September 5, 1887. It cast seventy-nine votes in 1892, and is thought to have a population of between 400 and 450. The borough, which is a station on the Nickel Plate R. R., occupies a sight along the Ridge road, two and a half miles from North Springfield, on the Lake Shore R. R., one and a half west of Cross's Station, on the Erie and Pittsburg R. R., and twenty-one by common road from Erie.

    The churches, schools, historical events, etc., are referred to on the pages relating to Springfield township, of which the borough was originally a part.

    (the remainder of this text has not been transcribed)


                          AND  HISTORICAL  REFERENCE  BOOK  OF  ERIE  COUNTY.                      861

    Elias Randall, West Springfield, Erie county, Pa., was born in Conneaut township, July 6, 1823. He is a son of Maxon and Hannah (Pomeroy) Randall, life long residents of Girard. His grandfather was John Randall, who first became a resident of Erie county about 1795, coming here from New York state, bringing his son Maxon, who was then only 3 years old. His mother was Miss Hannah, daughter of Medad Pomeroy, for many years a resident of Albion, Erie county. He served in the Revolutionary war, and was a prominent citizen of his day and generation. Elias Randall was first married in 1847 to Miss Hannah Miller, of Springfield township. She died in 1852 [sic]. Later he was married to Caroline Ferguson, daughter of Hance Ferguson. The children are: Edwin, of Springfield township; and Isadore, children by the first marriage; Emma J., wife of C. F. Eaton, of Monroe township, Ashtabula county, Ohio; Ella. L., wife of J. W. Willey, West Springfield; Alvira, wife of A. H. Dean; and Alta, wife of Hance Hardy, of Monroe township, Ashtabula county, Ohio, by the second marriage. Mr. Randall has been a prominent citizen of the community in which he resides for forty-five years, having occupied his present place during this time. With him resides his son-in-law, J. W. Willey, who was born in 1842. He is a son of John H. and Elizabeth (Ward) Willey, natives of Summit township, Erie county, and prominently identified with the earlier settlements of the county through their ancestors. Mr. Willey was married in 1876, and has one son, Malcom.

    Note 1: The Elias Randall (1823-c.1902) spoken of here was the son-in-law of John N. Miller, one of the "Conneaut Witnesses" for the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon. Elias Randall married Hannah Miller, daughter of John N. Miller (1783-1866) and Nancy Miller in 1847. She was born in Conneaut twp., Erie Co. PA in 1820. When she died on Jan. 30, 1849 the cause of her death was probably sickness. Hannah Miller Randall was buried in the "John N. Miller Lot" at the Christian Church Burying Ground in West Springfield, Erie Co, PA. The bodies in this plot were apparently moved, with their grave markers, to East Springfield some years later. Hannah left behind two children: Edwin Randall, b. c. 1848 and Isadore Randall, b. 1849. Isadore married a Mr. Darby in about 1869. Her son, Lee W. Darby, is listed in the Erie Co, census for 1910 as head of the household, age 40.

    Note 2: The Elias Randall who married Hannah Miller is not known to have been related to the Elias Randall of the previous generation, who married Mindwell Corning and lived in Mentor, Ohio, The latter was an active anti-Mormon there during the early 1830s.


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