NORTH SEWICKLEY TOWNSHIP
This township lies in the northern part of the county, and is bounded on the north by Lawrence County, on the
east by Franklin and Marion townships, on the south by New Sewickley and Daugherty, and on the west by the Big
Beaver River, with Chippewa and Big Beaver townships opposite. The Conoquenessing Creek flows along its northeastern
border. A small branch of Brush Creek heads in the southeastern corner, and the main stream enters the township
from the east near the point at which the Conoquenessing touches its territory and empties into the latter about
one mile below. Bennett's Run, a small stream, rises in the southern part of the township and enters the Big Beaver
from the east.
While the streams heading within the township are all small, the Beaver and Conoquenessing valleys make a deep
drainage all around it, and the surface of the country is very much broken and hilly The scenery on the streams
of this region is very wild and picturesque. A good quality of coal is found in several parts of the township,
with excellent limestone and sandstone, and the soil is in many portions very rich.
This township was formed out of the territory of the original Sewickley township, which covered the greater portion
of the county lying east of the Big Beaver Creek.(1) In 1801 New Sewickley township was formed out of Sewickley
by the court of Allegheny County, and North Sewickley was probably the part remaining.
In this township is the collection of houses, hardly large or compact enough to be called a village, but known
as North Sewickley. The post office, about a mile and a half to the north, was established in 1837. May 27, 1845,
the name of the office was changed to Wurtemberg, but the old name was restored in 1849. The list of postmasters
from the first and the dates of their appointments, are as follows:
Absalom S. Severns, Sr., Dec. 13, 1837; Absalom Severns, July x9, 1839; Nathaniel Hazen, May 10, 1842; Jonathan
L. Leet, Nov. 8, 1849; James W. Taylor, March 19, 1851; Melvin Nye, April 2, 1856; James Patton, Jan. 26, 1860;
James M. Runyon, Feb. 1, 1866; Milton A. Clow, March 7, 1867; Archibald M. Mecklem, May 12, 1869; Millard F. Mecklem,
April 9, 1874; Robert C. Criswell. Jan. 7, 1875; Nathan Hazen, June 14, 1875; Edward W. Liebendorfer, Dec. 21,
1882; Marcus E. Caven, Jan. 10, 1888; J. Ellis Ewing, July 23, 1897; Moses C. Swick, March 3o, 1898.
Providence Baptist Church. - This church is located at North Sewickley, and is the oldest one of this denomination
in Beaver County. Previous to 1801, Ezekiel Jones and Hannah, his wife, came from New Jersey to this region and
settled on the banks of the Conoquenessing, about four miles above its confluence with the Big Beaver. Their rude
log cabin stood, according to tradition, where an old apple tree now stands at the south end of the present covered
bridge, a few feet to the right. Here came to them in 1801 Elder Henry Spear, an itinerant Baptist preacher, who
delivered in their house the first sermon ever preached in this part of the State by one of his faith, and here,
on November 14, 1801, was constituted by him the first Baptist church ever organized in western Pennsylvania. The
church had twenty one members, and from these Ezekiel Jones was chosen deacon or lay elder. In his house the church
continued to meet for some time when it was decided to build a house of worship, and a log church was erected on
a hill about three quarters of a mile farther south. This stood until 1848, when a frame church was built near
by, and the old building, by resolution, was torn down and the logs given to the pastor, Jacob Morris, who built
out of them a barn, which is still standing on the farm now owned by Godfrey Yahn. The new building stood until
1856, when it was destroyed by a storm. The next year it was replaced by the present frame structure, which was,
however, remodeled in 1898.
This church has been served by twenty four pastors. The first, Henry Spear, remained but one year. Henry Frazure
was elected in 1802 and remained until 1812. Then followed Thomas Rigdon, 1813-14; Andrew Clark, 1814-20; Henry
Frazure, 1820-24. The records at this point are no longer clear. They show Samuel McMillen's name as of one laboring
in the field from 1824 to 1831, and that of John Winter from 1827 to 1828.
This would indicate two pastors, or else a pastor and an assistant. Both ministers were delegates from the church
to the Association in 1827. In July, 1832, William Stone became pastor and remained until 1834. Thomas Daniels
served from 1836 to 1844, and was succeeded by Daniel Daniels, 1844-46; Jacob Morris, 1846-55; John Trevitt, supply,
six months; John Parker, 1856-59; A. G. Kirk, 1859-62; John Trevitt, 1862-66; D. W. C. Hervey, 1866-72; W. B. Skinner,
1872-75; R. B. Godfrey, April-October, 1875; C. H. Hervey, 1876-79; J. W. Snyder, 1879-82; H. H. Leamy, 1883-86;
L. S. Colborn, 1887- 91; H. C. Bond, 1892-95; W. H. McKinney, 1895-97; W. A. Grover, 1897-99; J. H. Lowe, 1899-.
The records do not show the amount of salary the early ministers received, but we may be sure that salaries were
small and partly paid in farm produce at that.
In 1833 Mr. Dodd presented a petition asking the church to organize a branch on the "big bever." This
was granted, and a log structure was begun at Bellton on the Beaver Creek, but it was never finished.
The following were elders in this church in early days: Ezekiel Jones, Henry Kikendall, Oliver Jones, Isaac, Nathaniel,
and John Hazen, John Robinson, Nathan Hazen, Benjamin Reno, William Gardner, Matthew Kelley, Daniel Main, Samuel
Thomas, James B. Hazen, Joseph Hazen, and John Thomas. October 23-24, 1901, the hundredth anniversary of the organization
of this church was appropriately celebrated.(2)
NORTH SEWICKLEY ACADEMY
The date of the commencement of this academy is uncertain, but was probably about 1845 or 1846. Previous to
its establishment a select school had been taught in the old Providence Baptist Church by a Mr. Herrington, Joseph
S. Smith, Ethan Stewart, Oliver Smith, and others.
The academy was started through the influence of Rev. James S. Henderson, who was ordained and installed pastor
of Slippery Rock Presbyterian Church, October 22, 1845, and who was at the same time pastor at North Sewickley.
The academy building was erected in 185o, but for several years previous the school had been held in a hewed log
cabin. Mr. Henderson in this work was carrying out the suggestion of the General Assembly, which about that time
was urging upon its ministers the need of founding schools and academies in order to raise up a supply of educated
men for the gospel ministry. This academy was established under the control of the trustees of the Presbyterian
Church of North Sewickley. It was not intended to be merely a school for teacher training, but to prepare boys
and girls for college. The site for the location of church and school was donated by S. C. Clow, and is one of
rare beauty overlooking the Conoquenessing and Brush Creek valleys. The school in its balmiest days was a young
ladies' seminary, as well as an academy for boys. Some of the latter were city lads around whom this rural retreat
threw a quiet and safe guarding influence supposed to be eminently conducive to diligent study. The principal's
home, erected by Mr. Henderson, afforded accommodation for young ladies. Miss Kiddoo was his assistant teacher.
He was succeeded by Rev. Henry Webber, who served as pastor of the church and principal of the school for many
years, and whose remains, with those of his wife, rest in the adjoining cemetery. His chief assistant at this time
was a Mr. Osgood. Miss Kate McBeth, who afterwards succeeded her sister, Miss Sue McBeth, as instructor of the
Nez Perces Indians at Lapwai, Idaho, was later his assistant teacher.
The academy buildings were used for a time as a Soldiers' Orphan School, under the supervision of Mr. Webber, who
built an addition of about forty feet to his house for the accommodation of the pupils, who at one time numbered
about 300. Many of the children could not be housed with him, and were boarded about in the families of the neighborhood.
Later, Mr. James Jackson was in charge of the school, and employed as assistants Mr. Robert Brown and Miss Kate
McBeth. Afterwards the school passed under the care of Rev. Elias Alexander, with Rev. James Mann, Miss McBeth,
and Miss Smith as his assistants. It was soon disbanded, and the children were transferred to the care of Rev.
W. G. Taylor, D.D., of the Soldiers' Orphan School at Phillipsburg, now Monaca, Pa.
It is impossible to give a full account of those who conducted the academy after this period, but the list of principals
and teachers would include Rev. Robert C. Criswell, Rev. W. H. McKinney, Mr. ___ Cheney, Rev. L. S. Colborn, Rev.
R. C. Yates, Mr. ___ Harrup, Mr. ___ Houston, and Mr. James Bennett. Rev. George Sherman Rice, pastor at Slippery
Rock, was active in sustaining the school. Rev. James E. Hutchinson of Irwin, Pa., and Rev. William McKee of Niles,
Ohio, were its latest principals. The building is in good. condition, having been refitted for use at considerable
expense at a comparatively recent date, but of late no school has been conducted in it, the demand being supplied
by other schools in the vicinity.
North Sewickley Presbyterian Church. - Sundry citizens of North Sewickley township having petitioned the Presbytery
of Beaver to organize a congregation in their vicinity, the following committee was appointed by the presbytery.
Wells Bushwell and J. S. Henderson, ministers; and William Morton, elder. The organization was effected by the
above named committee on the 6th day of August, 1846, when thirty six persons presented certificates and were received
as members of the new organization. Their names follow: James B. Clow, Eliza J. Clow, Samuel C. Clow, Sophia H.
Clow, Maria V. Clow, Ann Clark, Mary Clark, Nathan S. Clark, Isabella Clark, Mark Clark, Malvina Clark, Adam Kirk,
Sr., Euphene Kirk, Hannah Kirk, Louisa Kirk, Mary McGregor, Donald McGregor, Duncan McGregor, Wm. McGregor, Robert
McGregor, Elizabeth Bennett, Margaret Bennett, Alice Ann Kelly, James Bond, Mary E. Bond, Eliza Bond, Agnes Bond,
William Motherall, Mrs. Motherall, Robert Caldwell, Rebecca Caldwell, Hannah Caldwell, James Jackson, Esther Jackson,
Robert Jackson, Eliza Jackson.
They then proceeded to elect two elders and two deacons: Robert Jackson and Mark Clark were elected and installed
elders; and S. C. Clow, and James Jackson the same as deacons.
Rev. James S. Henderson became the first pastor and served the church until he was released in 1855. Rev. Henry
Webber, D.D., was installed pastor, 1856, and released in 1867. Rev. John H. Aughey was installed 1870, and released
1871. The church was without a pastor until 1882, when Rev. R. C. Yates was appointed stated supply. In 1889 Mr.
Yates resigned, and Rev. M. A. Parkinson took charge in 1890, and remained with the church about three years. In
1895 Rev. Paul D. Gardner was ordained and installed pastor. After serving the church for about two and a half
years he was released.
Rev. D. V. Mays became pastor in 1898 and was released in 1899, since which time the church has been without a
The names of those who have been elected and installed as ruling elders of this church, with the dates of their
election, are as follows: Robert Jackson, Mark Clark, 1846; Greer McWilliams, 1849; J. H Cunningham, William Gibson,
Robert Marshall, G. W. Taylor, 1853; Thomas J. Irwin, James Marshall, 1857; Adam Rouser, John Baxter, Dr. John
Withrow, 1870; J. Thompson Jackson, William Caldwell, Eli J. Evans, 1882; John H. Lowry, J. A. Jackson, John W.
Holland, 1894; R. L. Walker, John Collins, 1899.
The present session is Robert Baird, A. G. Glenn, Robert Walker, and J. Thompson Jackson, and the membership is
There is no record of the cost of the church building, nor of the date of its erection. According to the testimony
of one of the original members, it was built in 1845.
Concord Methodist Episcopal Church. - This is one of the oldest churches of the Methodist type in the county, having
been established about the year 1834. The first services were held in the house of Thomas B. Elliott; and among
the early members of the society were Mr. Elliott, Nancy Elliott, Edmund Boat and wife, and the brothers John and
Samuel Boat, with their wives. This church was early connected with the Unionville circuit, and is so now. The
last pastor was the Rev. A. S. Hunter and Rev. Alexander Steele is now (1904) supplying the pulpit. Among the first
preachers for the society were Rev. Richard Armstrong and Rev. Joshua Monroe.
The congregation erected a church building in 1851, under the leadership of a local minister from New Brighton,
named Joseph Alexander. This was a frame structure, which ultimately became too small for the needs of the people,
and was replaced in 1887 by the present one during the pastorate of Rev. J. L. Stiffey. The building was dedicated,
free of debt, October 2, 1887. It is a frame structure, 32 by 44 feet, and cost about $1500. The pastors of this
church have been generally the same as those who served in the Unionville society.
Bellton post office, in this township, was established March 13, 1891, at which date Bidwell Main was appointed
postmaster. His successors have been John Mederer, appointed August 30, 1894; and Carrie Nimmo, appointed May 19,
1896. July 30, 1900, the office was discontinued.
Caylor's Ferry was established, January 24, 1891, with Charles A. Weeks as postmaster. He was followed by Martha
A. Funkhouser, March 3, 1891; and March 30, 1901, the office was discontinued.
Parkgate post office was served by Thomas J. Rouser, April 7, 1899, and Robert J. McKim, May 23, 1902; and was
discontinued, October r, 1902.
Kimberly post office. - Frank H. Douthitt was appointed May 28, 1900.
In 1900 North Sewickley had 431 taxables, 9671 acres of cleared land, and 2740 acres of timber land. The value
of all its real estate in that year was $567,220, of its real estate exempt from taxation, $5824; and of its real
estate taxable, $561,396. By the United States Census for 1890 its population was 1154; by that of 1900 it was
1660. Daugherty township and Eastvale borough were organized from parts of North Sewickley and Pulaski townships
1) At the last auction sale of Depreciation lands in 1787. 6238 acres of the good land lying in what became
Sewickley township. Beaver County, brought the paltry sum of $829.10 or about 34 cents per acre. within the limits
of the original Sewickley township lay the tract of 836o acres belonging to Benjamin Chew, of Philadelphia, and
generally known as the "Chew Tract."
2) The Record Book of this ancient church contains an almost unbroken record of its proceedings from its organization
to the present. We give a few extracts in the original form and spelling:
RECORD BOOK OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE REGULAR BAPTIST CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST CALLED PROVIDENCE ON CANNOQUONISSING
BEVER COUNTY PENNSYLVANYA ANO DOMINA 1801.
November ye 14, 1801
Being collected together at the house of Brother Ezekiel Jones for the same purpose we was regularly constituted
into a body by our beloved Brother Elder Spear Twentyone In number.
Aprile ye 24, 1802.
Church met according to appointment and after prayer and singing procede to business.
1st. Chose Bro. Spear moderator.
2nd. Received Brother George Riddle and his wife by Letter from Union Church. Glade ruin buffelow township.
March ye 27th, 1802.
Church met, etc.
1st. Chose Brother Henry Spear Moderator.
2nd. A door was opened for hearing Experiences and Receiving Letters. None offer.
4th. Chose Brethern Ezekiel Jones and Henry Kikendali Lay Elders. Here the fourth was set in the place of the third
3d. A door was opened for members to sign the Covinent and signed to the amount of fourteen.
Church met etc.
1st. Took into consideration the Second article of the Rules Regulations of the Church,
That Every Member's none Complyance Therewith must give satisfactory Reasons.
2nd. Agreed that The last Sabbath in aprile Shall if God willing be Communication Season with us.
3d. A Collection to purchase the Eliments 5s. 7 1/2p.
The Church dismiss by Reading a Portion of god's word, Singing and Prayer.