History of Hanover Township, Beaver County, Pa.
From: History of Beaver County Pennsylvania
and its Centennial Celebration
BY: Rev. Joseph H. Bausman, A. M.
Knickerbocker Press New York, 1904


This township, which is one of the original townships of Beaver County, occupies the southwest corner of the county. Its boundaries are Greene and Raccoon townships on the north, Washington County on the south, West Virginia on the west, and Independence township on the east. Big and Little Travis cieeks are mostly within its limits, and King's Creek heads in it; Raccoon Creek cuts across its southeastern corner, and Tomlinson's Run across its northwestern corner, and a branch of the latter rises in the township.

The report of the Secretary of Internal Affairs of the State for 1900 shows in this township 446 taxables; 21,284 acres of cleared land; 5330 acres of timber land; value of all real estate, $718,096; value of real estate exempt from taxation, $16,900; value of real estate taxable, $701,196. The population of Hanover township, as shown by the United States Census of 1880, was 1351; by that of 1890, 1213; and by that of 1900, 1031. A considerable loss of population is here observable. Other south side townships show a like falling off. Since the decline of the sheep raising industry in that section of the county the character of the farming has been altered, and removals on this account have been frequent. There is also to be considered the increasing attractiveness and drawing power of the great commercial and manufacturing centers. These influences have for several decades past made themselves felt not only on the south side, but in other parts of the county, and, indeed, throughout the country, leading to a gravitation of population to towns and cities.

No township in Beaver County is richer in historical incident than Hanover. In Appendix V., this volume, will be found a list of its taxables for 1802, and we give in Chapter IV. some interesting details concerning its pioneer inhabitants. We have stated the history of the formation of the township and the changes which have been made in its limits in Chapter XXV.

Frankfort Springs borough was formed from the territory of this township. Its history will be found in the chapter on the smaller boroughs of the county (see Chapter XXIV.).


This place, a small hamlet, is situated toward the northeastern corner of Hanover township. It was named Harshaville in honor of Robert Harsha, who, in 1859, secured the establishment of its postoffice. Previous to that date it was called Hanover, after the United Presbyterian Church of that name, whose modest house of worship was the first building erected on the site of the village. It is thought that the first dwelling house in the place was one built about 1836 by Robert Bell. Some of the most substantial and well known families of the county trace their origin to the early settlers of this place and its vicinity, among whom were the Robert Bell, just mentioned, Robert Johnston, Isaac Parkinson, William Peters, and John Harsha. The latter has already been spoken of in connection with the political and educational history of the county, having been one of its worthiest early teachers, a justice of the peace, and a representative in the Assembly of the State for the years 1836-38. He was also one of the school inspectors for Beaver County from Hanover township, appointed by the court in 1834, when the new free common school system was being organized. Other early settlers in this vicinity were James Harper, father of James Harper of Beaver, ex-county surveyor; John Smith; John Leeper; James Bigger, grandfather of Ellis N. Bigger, Esq., lately deceased; James Neilson (Nelson as now spelled), father of David A. Nelson, Esq., of Beaver; Adam, John. and Alexander Gibb; John, James, and David Little (Littell); Thomas, James, and Charles Anderson; Thomas and Alexander Adams, and James Miller, father of the distinguished Presbyterian minister, writer and Sabbath school editor, Rev. James Russell Miller, D.D., of Philadelphia and of Rev. R. J. Miller, D.D., editor of The United Presbyterian of Pittsburg, Pa.

The postoffice at this place has been served by the following persons:

Robert Harsha, Jan. 19, 1859; David Short, May 16, 1864; John G. Adams, Aug. is, 1865; Benjamin F. Reed, April 24, 1867; James R. Wilson. July 6, 1869; Martin L. Armstrong, Aug. 28, 1872; John P. Robertson, April 13, 1892.

This office was discontinued, April 4, 1901, on account of the establishment of rural free delivery.

Hanover United Presbyterian Church. - The date of the organization of this church is uncertain, but it was probably some time before 1825. It is supposed that Rev. John Graham, DAD., was instrumental in securing its organization. He was pastor of Cross Roads Church in Washington County from 1820 to 1829, and visited the field here, giving encouragement to the people to proceed with their enterprise. The first elders of the congregation were John Smith. William Sterling, John McCormick, and Thomas McGuire. In later years the eldership of this church has included such men as John Harsha, Thomas Harsh, William Harsha, William Ralston, Samuel Plunket, Robert Gorsuch, Alexander McCoy, James Torrance, William Swearingen, John A. Gibb, Robert Harsha, John Purvis, William Miller, and Joseph Mahaffey. Two church buildings have been erected; the frame, spoken of above, built in 1827; and the present one, built in 1844.

No record of pastors is obtainable until 1837, from which time to date the following ministers have served the church:

James Prestly, D.D., May, 1837-Sept. 8, 1840; John Junkin Buchanan, Nov., 1842-March 26, 1844; Thomas Calahan, June 20, 1849-April 11, 1854; William L. McConnell, 1857-1858; William M. Richie, Sept 1862-June 20, 1865; James L. Purdy, 1867-April, 1881; M. S. Telford, 1882-1888; F. B. Stewart, 1889-1892.

Since 1892 the church has had stated supplies. The present membership is seventy four.

Kendall postoffice, named after Amos Kendall, Postmaster General under Andrew Jackson, is located in the northwestern section of this township, on the Georgetown and Washington State Road. Its postmasters have been the following: Robert Patton, 1837; Martha Patton, May 5, 1851; Robert M. Patton, January 22, 1886; John A. Swearingen, May 13, 1893; James W. Schooler, February 2, 1895; Mary M. McCoy, December 7, 1898; discontinued November 21, 1900.

Cometsburg postoffice, in the southwestern corner of the township, with Mrs. Eleanor Ramsey as postmistress from January 21, 1869, was also discontinued, November 21, 1900.

Poe postoffice, named after Andrew Poe, the Indian fighter, was discontinued, August 27, 1892. It had been in charge of the following persons: Henry Moore, 1855; William Z. Davis, April 9, 1880; Thomas W. Swearingen, April 4, 1881; Henry Moore, March 6, 1882; David Reed, April 3, 1882; Henry Moore, April 18, 1883; Hettie E. Reed, May 19, 1892.

The rapid development of rural free delivery accounts for the discontinuance of so many of these small offices.

King's Creek United Presbyterian Church is in Hanover township, a few miles north of Cometsburg postoffice. This church was organized, May 27, 1854, by a commission appointed by the Associate Reformed Presbytery of Steubenville, in answer to a request of the people uniting in its formation. The commission consisted of Rev. William Lorimore of Richmond, Ohio, moderator; and elders David Anderson of the same place, David White of Knoxville, Ohio; and John Crawford of Paris, Pa.

The following persons were admitted to the new organization on confession of their faith:

William M. Breaden, John Breaden, Robert Breaden, Agnes Arnold, William Andrews, Mary Jane Andrews, Rebecca Cameron, and Robert Ralston. On certificate the following: Peggy Anne Moore, Adam Reed, Susan Reed, Jane Reed, John McCauly, Walter Breaden, Jane Breaden, Mitchel Ramsey, Anna Ramsey, John Tenan, Anna Tenan, Robert Ramsey, Margaret Ramsey, David Ramsey, Jane Ramsey, Eleanor Ramsey, Robert Ramsey, David Carson, Elizabeth Carson, Alexander Morehead, Agnes Morehead, Eleanor Jane Tenan, Samuel Martin, Jane Martin, Robert Martin, Maria Martin, Samuel Martin, Eleanor Jane Martin, John Arnold, Mary Arnold, William Ralston, Martha Ralston, Milton Ralston, Mary Jane Ralston, in all 42 members.

It is thought that there are today only two of these original members living within the bounds of the congregation.

Six ruling elders were elected, viz.: Samuel Martin, William Ralston, John Arnold, Mitchel Ramsey, Walter Breaden, and Robert Ramsey. These are now all dead. In February, 1864, three elders were elected: William Gilliland (now deceased), Thomas Ramsey, and W. M. Ramsey; in 1879, C. G. Arnold (deceased January 13, 1898); August u, 1900, John F. Deemer.

The pastors of this church have been as follows: J. L. Purdy, 1860-80; Joseph McKelvey, 1884-89; W. J. McClintock, June, 1891-November, 1891; S. M. Krohn, 1892-died July 18, 1898; W. J. Hawk, July 12, 1900-November 23, 1902.

The congregation has had two church buildings: the first, built in 1853, and costing about $2000, was burned in 1866; and the present building was erected in 1867 at a cost of about $2500. The church was organized in the former building.

Mount Olivet Presbyterian Church is in the extreme northeastern corner of this township, close to the line of Independence township. This church was organized, January 1, 1876, at Gorsuch's schoolhouse, by a committee of the Presbytery of Washington, consisting of the Revs. J. T. Fredericks, Samuel Forbes, and Stephen A. Hunter. The church started with a membership of fifty three. In the same year a substantial frame church building was erected at a cost of $2500. December 13, 1876, a charter was obtained, the names of the incorporators being T. A. Torrance, William Morally, Cyrus McConnell, James Russell, Thomas Butler, James H. McCoy, William Figley, James McCoy, and James Miller. The Minutes of the General Assembly give the following report of ministers serving this congregation: Stated supplies, 1876-77; 1878-84, W. H. Hunter; 1885-87, vacant; 1888-90, James B. Lyle; 1891, vacant; 1892-93, Albert M. West; 1894, vacant; 1895-96, Charles P. May; 1897-01, Wilson Asdale.

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