ORGANIZATION - PHYSICAL FEATURES - COAL DEPOSITS - PIONEERS - A GAME STORY - FIRST ELECTION - MILLS AND DISTILLERIES
- SCHOOLS AND JUSTICES - CHURCHES - VILLAGES.
BUFFALO township is one of the four townships into which Butler county was divided prior to 1809. Up to 1854, when
the last re-subdivision of the county took place, it was one of the largest townships in the county. In that year
its area was reduced to its present limits. It is the southeast township in the county, and is the dividing line
between the oak and pine hills, the latter beginning near Sarversville and predominating toward the south and east
lines of the township. Big Buffalo creek enters the Allegheny river at the southeast corner of this township. About
two miles north of this confluence it receives the waters of the Little Buffalo and Sarver's run, and all drain
the north half and southeast quarter; while Little Bull creek and the feeders of the center head of Bull creek
drain the southwest quarter of the township. The elevations are 766.4 feet above ocean level at Buffalo station;
801.6 at Harbison; 840 at Monroe, and 1,026.8 at Sarvers, the railroad track being the point of measurement.
In the southeast corner, the Upper Freeport coal is 140 feet above the mean water in the Allegheny river, while
above Monroeville, on Sarver's run, it disap. pears under the bed of that stream, and does not reappear until the
Clinton line is approached, where Miller's drift occurs, and the old Walker banks of Reeth, Wilson and Krumpe,
now operated by Yaehnig, Fredley and Joseph Reeth. The Buffalo sandstone is seen at 120 feet above the coal. Along
Bull creek the cliffs form an interesting feature. At Monroeville, a knob rises 450 feet above the line of the
coal bed opposite Monroe station, where Michael Stepp's coal bank is located. Freeport limestone and the green
crinoidal limestone appear down the creek from Monroeville and west of that village, some distance above the W.
H. Sarver coal banks. On the Fleming farm, on little Bull creek, the Elk Lick coal is found thirty-five feet above
the crinoidal rock, and the latter on the Richard's farm north of the south line.
The honors of being the first settler have been given to George Bell, a native of Ireland, who located here
in 1795, and after whom a bill and creek are named; but they were shared by Robert Elliott, another Irishman, who
came from Westmoreland county the same year. Elliott revisited his first American home that fall, and early in
1796 brought hither his large family and a quantity of young fruit trees. His wife died here in 1844 and himself
in 1845. Benjamin Sarver, who came up from Tarentum every Monday and worked on the pioneer mill until noon every
Saturday, located at Sarversville about 1796, and later established the mill, the remains of which may yet be seen
near the bridge at the village. Mary Steele and her children, John and Mary, came from Westmoreland county the
same year, and located on the site of an old Indian camp ground. John Harbison and his wife Massy, the heroine
of the Indian story related in a previous chapter, had been residents of the district, opposite the mouth of Buffalo
creek, since 1792, but were pioneers of this township as early as 1807. One of the Smith family, referred to in
the history of Winfield township; John Brooks, who moved away within a few years; William Kiskaddon, an Irish veteran
of the Revolution, and Joseph Simmers, who married Mary Steele, were all located within the present boundaries
of the township prior to the close of 1796. In 1797-98 the Carson family, of whom Robert was the head; John Barker's
family, and the Fleming family, of whom Thomas, a native of Scotland, was the founder in this township, arrived.
In 1798 Andrew Easley settled not far from the county line, but ultimately the Easley family located in this township,
and also the Kirkpatricks.
The broken character of the township deterred the immigrants who came to the county from the close of 1797 to the
close of the War of 1812 from locating here. Of course many men, such as Hugh McKee, came in, remained some time,
and then sought other neighborhoods for a home. The settlement at Ekastown in 1818 by John Ekas, and the opening
of "Disappointment Farm" by John Weir the same year, were the beginnings of a new era in this township.
The Weir and Roney families ventured into the wilderness in 1819; Jacob Byerly and wife came in 1823, Thomas Harbison
in 1824, the Doyles in 18, Henry Halstead in 1838, while the Blacks, Sedwicks, McKees, Wilsons, Walker, Mortons,
Walters and a lew others made their homes in the forest over sixty years ago. William Painter, who was a tailor
in Ereeport in 1817, was a farmer here in 1839; James McCafferty came in 1841, David L. Hoover in 1842, and George
Gardner in 1843 Other families, representatives of the pioneers of Westmoreland and Armstrong counties, came in
subsequently, and laid the foundations on which the society of Buffalo is built.
As the township was a favorite hunting ground for the Indians prior to 1792, so it continued to be for the Caucasians
for fully forty years after. Large game abounded and droves of deer offered themselves as easy prey to the hunters.
A story is related by J. E. Muder of Saxonburg, which bears out this statement. The Rev. Schweitzerbarth sent Mr.
Sarver a message, saying he would be on hand the next Sabbath to preach. Sarver knew that there was little in the
house to entertain his old friend, and announced to his wife, Betsy. that he would go out and kill a deer. He went
forth, shot a deer and returned jubilant. Next, he told his wife that he would go to Jacob Staley's for a quart
of whisky, which he did; and returning, exclaimed in jubilant tones, "Now, Schweitzerbarth, you can come;
Betsy has got the meat and I have got: the whisky." Wild honey, corn whisky and venison made very good fare,
which no one enjoyed better than some of the visiting evangelists of early days.
The first election held in Buffalo township, October 8, 1805, after the organization of the original thirteen divisions
of the county, resulted in nine votes for Simon Snyder, and seven for Thomas McKean, for Governor; James O'Hara
five, Samuel Smith seven, and N. Irish, four for Congress; James Martin and Samuel Ewalt, eight each for Senator;
Jacob Mechling, Abner Lacock and Francis McLure nine each, James Corothers seven, Jacob Ferrec three, John McBride
six and George Robison five for Assembly; William B. Young seven, William Brown eight, and Abner Coats one for
MILLS AND DISTILLERIES.
The early industries were Benjamin Sarver's grist mill, the stone foundations, the log dam and wheel of which
may yet be seen in the bed of the creek at Sarversville; Thomas Fleming's distillery of 1799, a very primitive
concern compared with the present big Guckenheimer distillery in the southeast corner of the township; and John
Harbison's saw mill, of 1807, on the Buffalo, carried on by him until his death, in 1822. About the same time,
or a little later, one of Jeremiah Smith's sons, with Caleb Jones, established a mill at Sarver's station, the
same which Alexander Douthett operated in 1834. There David Kelly erected a large mill in 1866, which, two years
later, became the property of Jacob Ehrman and is now known as " Ehrtnan's mill." Water and steam power
are used, but the old process machinery has been retained. William Colmer, who settled on the old Brook's farm,
and Jacob Weaver, erected the mill afterward known as " Cratty's mill," and which, with Hill's mill on
Big Buffalo, were great aids to the pioneers.
In the extreme southeastern corner of Buffalo township, adjoining Freeport, is the Guckenheirner & Company,
or rather tile Pennsylvania Company's distillery, comprising three large brick buildings, including the two bonded
warehouses. The property is assessed at $27,000. The buildings were erected in 1869 for P. McGonigle & Son,
and the industry inaugurated in 1870, the capacity then being eighteen barrels a day. In 1875 the present company,
composed of A. Guckenheimer, Samuel Wertheimer, Emil Wertheimer and Isaac Wertheimer, purchased the plant and carried
on the industry until the fire of July, 1889, wiped it out. On the ruins, it may be said, of the old buildings
was raised the present large concern, with a capacity of fifty barrels a day.
SCHOOLS AND JUSTICES.
The early school teachers included Robert Cunningham, Michael Herron, Robert Hamilton, WTilliam McGarry, Thomas
Watson and others, who would leave Clinton township occasionally to "keep school" in Buffalo. in 1830
the first common school was established in District Number 2, with George C. Sedwick teacher. J. C. Watt and John
A. Watson were also well known teachers in the common schools. The schools of the township will compare favorably
with those of adjoining townships, and every child has the opportunity of obtaining an education.
The justices of the peace, elected since 1840, are named as follows : - Willlam Walker, 1840, 1845 and 1850; Emil
Maurhoff, 1840; George C. Sedwick, 1845-50-59 and 64; William Barker, 1851-83-88; David Kelly, 1855-60-69-74; Jonathan
Hazlett appears to have been elected in 1805; A. H. Morse, 1870; George W. Cramer, 1875-80 (for short term) , 1881;
Thomas Dougless, 1877- 82; G. F. Easley, 1886; M. C. Sarver, 1890; J. C. Redick, 1890; John Thomas and A. A. Kohlmeyer
appear to have been elected the same year; J. F. Martin, 1891, elected county treasurer in 1893, and resigned office
of justice of the peace; J. S. Glenn, 1892; J. W. Smith, 1893, and George W. Cramer, 1894.
Buffalo Presbyterian Church, one and one-half miles east of Sarversvilie, was organized August 3, 1843, by Revs.
Abraham Boyd, Thomas W. Kerr and Elder Hill. Mr. Boyd preached there for some time before he could gather the original
thirteen members, and continued as pastor until 1846. Rev. David D, McKee came in 1847; Rev. Newton Bracken in
1849; Rev. George Cairns in 1851; Rev. Newton Bracken, as stated supply, in 1858; Rev. John V. Miller in 1859;
Rev. Josiah McPherrin in 1865; Rev. James T. Patterson in 1874, and Rev. John S. Atkinson, June 14, 1881. Mr. Atkinson
was released in April, 1888. Rev. L. E. Keith succeeded him and remained one year. The pulpit was supplied from
1889 to February, 1894. Rev. j. W. Hazlett was ordained pastor in February, 1894. The membership in 1894 was 120.
The first elders were Andrew McCaskey and William Cruikshank. Among the latter day elders may be named Thomas Beckett,
W. H. McCafferty, William Galbreath, Wilson Todd, James Bricker, Thomas Elliott and J. P. Hepler. In 1843-44 a
very primitive house of worship was erected, which was used until after the war, when a new frame edifice was built,
and dedicated in 1867. It was repaired about two. years ago. The church stands in the two-acre cemetery lot.
St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Buffalo township was incorporated June 25, 1868. The articles of association
were adopted February 28,. 1868, and signed by Rev. J, K. Meihorn, pastor, R. M. Harbison and M. S. Heckert, elders,
and H. Smith and H. Kelly, deacons, the whole number of members being fifty-seven. Rev. J. H. Fritz seems to have
organized this society in: December, 1867, in the old Covenanter church near Sarversville, with Henry Smith, Jonathan
Hazlett and R. M. Harbison, elders. In 1870 the Lutherans purchased three acres from the Covenanters and thereon
built a church, at a cost of about $3,000. In 1873 four acres were added to tile church lot for cemetery purposes.
Revs. Fritz and Meihorn remained but a short time. At the close of 1870 or early in 1871, Rev. J. A. H. Kitzmiller
took charge and was pastor until early in 1882, when a long vacancy begun. Rev. H. K. Shanor was pastor for a year
or two; then Rev. Mr. Sheffer, now of Prospect, came. Rev. Doerr followed Mr. Sheffer. He was succeeded by Rev.
Mr. Martens of Saxonburg, who. is the present pastor.
Emery Chapel, at Ekastown, is the modern name given to the building owned by the Methodist Episcopal church in
this township. The society here is a continuation of tile old class which was organized at Lardin's mill, in Clinton
township, early in the thirties, by Revs. Henderson and Jackson, two of John Wesley's disciples from the Emerald
Isle. Out of it grew the class, organized in 1839, by Rev. W. Carl, comprising David Walter, John Morton, and their
wives,. James Hunter, Henry Haistead, Polly Montgomery, Thomas Roney, Conrad Upperman, John and Adam Ekas, Catherine
Lardin, G. C. Sedwick, and Henry Walter. A frame building was erected in Clinton township, in 1841, to which the
present name was given, in honor of Bishop Emery. In 1868 the present brick church was built in Buffalo township
at a cost of over $7,000. It is now a circuit church, presided over by Rev. J. J. Davis, with Adam Ekas, steward
A Covenanter church existed near Ekastown long before the churches named. were organized, but the society disbanded.
The Lutherans were represented in Mr. Schweitzerbartb's time, for it was his custom to visit Sarver's at intervals
and preach the Lutheran doctrine to all who would assemble.
Sarversville was surveyed by Henry Haistead in 1840, and named Walley in recognition of its muddy main street.
The postal department, however, changed its name to Sarversville in January, 1858, and appointed David Kelly postmaster.
The first gristmill in the township was built here by Benjamin Sarver. Thirty-five years later F. D. Schweitering
established the first store. David Kelly followed him as merchant, and on his removal to Sarver's station in 1870,
J. M. Fleming opened a store in a new building, which he carried on until 1889, when M. C. Sarver purchased the
store and residence. Jacob J. Smith, born here in 1831, became the next miller and merchant of the district. Two
of the old houses are still standing-one just south of the Sarver store, a long, double frame house, is owned by
Jacob Kennedy; the second, a similar building, in which was the first postoffice, is occupied by William Stanfat.
The new house of the Junior Order United American Mechanics is occupied above by this society, while the first
floor is devoted to common school purposes.
The Sarversville Farmers' Club selected the following named officers for 1879: Thomas Douglass, president; James
McCafferty, vice-president; G. H. Doerr, secretary; M. N. Greer, correspondent, and John Doerr, treasurer. It ceased
to exist several years ago, and has not been revived.
Sarversville Council, Number 401, Jr. O. U. A. M. was organized January 25, 1890, with Thomas Douglass, councilor;
J. E. Wickline, vice-councilor; M. C. Sarver, recorder; William McCafferty, assistant secretary; L. C. Ehrman,
financier, and G. B. Freciley, treasurer. The past councilors are Thomas Douglass, M. C. Sarver, Samuel Petsinger,
W. E. Barker, William McCafferty and William McGinnis. The recorder in March, 1894, was F. W. Ekas. There were
135 members enrolled. The society's hail is a new building, tile first floor of which is rented by the school district.
Monroeville was surveyed by James Dunlap in 1839, for Emil Maurhoff. J. M. Elliott led in the building up df this
village on parts of the Daniel Duffy, Matthias Cypher and William McLaughlin lands. In 1840 George Weaver's tavern
was erected, and Peter Koon built a little store. George Fry, Gustave Speck, Charles Schweitering, George W. Cramer,
who succeeded Schweitering in 1811, and A. W. Leasure, who succeeded Cramer in October, 1893, have been the merchants
of tile hamlet. The postoffice is named Silverville, and was established in 1894, with A. W. Leasure as postmaster.
Sarver's Station is an old settlement under a new name. It is said that at the beginning of the century Smith and
Jones moved down from Rough run to this place and built a mill. The first store was opened in 1870 by David Kelly.
George Love succeeded him in 1873 or 1874; then William Watson, C. F. Marshall, J. S. Adams, and Watson and Powell
carried on business successively - J. W. Powell, the present merchant being the successor of all. About seven years
ago James McCafferty established his grocery store here. In February, 1894, he was appointed postmaster, vice William
Watson. Ehrman's mill stands just south of the village, in the valley of Smith's branch, while in the village is
the railroad station and a dozen of neat dwellings. W. H. Witte's hardware store, W. Watson's lumber yard and G.
Wiikewitz's general store are carried on in this busy little hamlet, with the general stores of McCafferty and
Monroe Station, northeast of Monroeville, is simply a shipping point for that section of the township.
Ekaslown is the name of a district rather than of a village, though Emery Methodist chapel, the H. K. Sarver store
and the postoffice render the cross roads the central point of the district.