History of Fairview, Pa.
From: A History of Butler County, Pennsylvania
Published By R. C. Brown & Co., Publishers 1895



FAIRVIEW township was established under authority of legislative enactment in March, 1846. This act provided that the new township to be formed out of Donegal township, should be bounded on the south by a line extending west from the line of Armstrong county, between the farms of Andrew Barnhart and the Widow Sylvus, to the line of Centre township, and that the original lines of the northern part of Donegal should be the northern, eastern and western lines of Fairview. The place of election for the new township was fixed at the house of William McCafferty in the village of Fairview, the voters of the old township of Donegal to meet at the house of Dennis O'Donnell, Sr. In 1854 it was established within its present limits.

The population in 1850 was 1,678; in 1800 - 1,101; in 1870 - 1,078; in 1880, including the boroughs, 6,150, and in 1890, exclusive of boroughs, 1,090. In June, 1893, there were 222 male and 222 female children of school age enumerated. The assessed value of property in January, 1894, was $308,560; the county tax, $1,234.26; the State tax, $158.38, and the revenue for school purposes, in 1893-$4,224. 15, including $1,119.17 State appropriation.


In 1794 Rudolph Barnhart came into this township and settled on a tract of land near Karns City, now known as the Kinkaid farm. After making a small clearing on this tract he returned to Westmoreland county for the winter. In the following spring he came to Butler county again. Instead of, however, returning to the neighborhood of Karns City, he abandoned his land there, and made another selection on the southern line of the township, northwest of Millerstown, a part of which he afterwards sold to to his brother, Philip, who came in 1797. By this change he lost the honor of being the first actual settler in the township. This honor belongs to Samuel and John Wallace, the latter a single man. They came in 1795, settled upon and improved a tract not far from the James Bovard settlement of 1798, near Karns City. In 1803 Samuel Wallace had 200 acres of land and John Wallace paid seventy-five cents tax for the privilege of remaining unmarried. In 1795 John Hemphill and Jacob Baruhart, Jr., settled on tracts in the vicinity of Millerstown, and in 1797 Daniel Barnhart bought a part of John Hemphill's tract. In 1796 Joseph Smith of Westmoreland county appeared at the Wallace cabin as a searcher for a home. He made his selection west of Fairview borough, built a cabin in a small clearing, to which, in 1798, he brought his wife and son, John. The latter afterward became a local Methodist preacher. John Craig settled just south of Karns City. Paul McDermott also came in 1796. Matthew Smith settled near Petrolia, not far from the location selected later for John Harold's saw mill. "William Wilson, who arrived in 1798, purchased a clearing and a cabin on the site of Petrolia, and. resided there nntil his death in 1839. James Bovard, afterwards associate judge, located near Karns City in the same year. Here he lived until 1824, when he removed into Cherry township. Alexander Storey, who came about that time, like Wilson, found a ready-made clearing and a pioneer ready to sell it, and he became the purchaser. Samuel Kinkaid selected 400 acres near Karns City in the Cumberland neighborhood, while southwest, near Buena Vista, were the clearings of Thomas Jackson, Patrick O'Farren, and William Ray. Samuel and Stephen Hall, Leonard Reep, George Robertson, Samuel Riddle, John Irwin, William Moore, John Cumberland, with David Moorhead, the weaver, and William Moorhead, the preacher, and John and James Craig, were all here prior to 1803, and must be credited with founding the agricultural interests of the township.

Andrew Campbell moved in from Concord in 1804, just one year after Charles McClung, the spinning wheel manufacturer, arrived from Maryland. Samuel Irwin, John Snow, John and George Emerick, William Fleming and Jonathan Keppel settled here within the first quarter of the century, while sons of the pioneers of adjoining townships and of Armstrong county, such as the Thorns, Barnharts and Hays, came to seek homes in Fairview in later days.


The Bear Creek Presbyterian Church may be said to have been organized in 1800, when the Irish Presbyterians who had settled in this and adjoining townships gathered at Deer Lick and listened to an itinerant preacher within a tent raised for that occasion. Some time after a round, unplastered log house was erected at a point northeast of Fairview for the purposes of a church. The two acres on which it stood were donated by William Wilson, and now form the Lower Bear Creek cemetery. From 1803 to 1807 Rev. Robert Johnston, then of the Scrubgrass church, preached here at stated intervals, and Rev. Robert Lee came as supply, remaining until 1809. For the six succeeding years Elder Kinkaid led the services, or until Rev. Cyrus Riggs was ordained, in 1814. The latter was followed in 1821 by Rev. Alexander Cook, who urged the people to erect the larger log building of 1822-23, in what is known as the Upper near Creek cemetery. Mr. Cook served there and at Parker down to a year before hii death in 1828. In 1830 Rev. Joseph Johnston came, and he, in 1834, caused the disruption of the Presbyterian church in northern Butler, carrying his adherents over to the Associate Reformed church, which ultimately became known as the United Presbyterian. The old cemetery is east by north of Fairview borough.

St. Paul's Reformed Church, formerly known as the Union church. a combination of the Lutheran and Reformed people of this locality, built a log house early in the century on the Andrew Barnhart, Sr., farm, just north of the Gabriel Pontius farm. The ground was donated by Mr. Barnhart in 1818. Revs. Henry Koch, Schweitzerbarth and Krantz were early preachers. A frame house was subsequently raised, which was used by the two societies down to the close of the sixties, when the union dissolved, the Lutherans building north of old St. Patrick's, on Sugar creek, while the Reformed congregation held the old property of eleven acres on the Barnhart farm, where is now the cemetery. The old building, which was theit third house of worship, was abandoned, and they then established worship in the Sugar Creek church. Ultimately they became sole owners of that site, where their church, known as "White Church," stands toclay. Among the members were Gabriel Pontius, the Kamerers, Frederick Wiles, the Kaylors, Forringers, John and Jacob Hemphill, John Wolford, the Shakeleys and others. The old records were destroyed by mice, but Rev. Mr. Kline, the present pastor, has the records of later years.


About the time the Presbyterians raised a tent at Deer Lick, near Petrolia, Benjamin Fletcher managed to obtain a subscription toward a school. Maurice Bredin taught here later, until the people around the Shakeley clearing erected a better school house and placed James Read in charge. On the Mortimer lands, adjoining Fairview borough, a third building was erected for William Gibson, whose successor, Squire McCleary, became teacher in 1815. Mr. Cook, of Donegal, was also here, and it is thought Henry Sanderson came in 1825, when a log house was erected for school purposes on the site of Fairview. In 1835 the school law was adopted, directors elected and the common school system introduced.


The first election held in March, 1846, resulted in the choice of the following named officials: John Scott, justice of the peace; James Maxwell and Henry Shakeley, supervisors; John McLaughlin, assessor; George Emerick and Jacob Kuhn, assistant assessors; E. G. Conway, auditor; Charles McClung, treasurer; Hugh Conway, James Maxwell, Joseph Campbell, James Storey and M. S. Adams, school directors; James Storey, clerk; William Starr, Robert Patton and Jesse Moore, fence appraisers; Thomas McLeary and Peter Thorn, overseers of the poor; James Wilson, judge of election, and Joseph Campbell and Robert Harshaw, inspectors of election.

The justices of the peace elected from 1846 to 1894 are as follows: John Scott, 1846 and 1851; John McKisson, 1850; Thomas Craig, 1854; Matthew S. Ray, 1856, 1861, and 1869; Robert Campbell, 1857 and 1862; William C. Adams, 1866; Alexander Storey, 1868 and 1873; A. L. Campbell, 1872; William McCollough, 1873; T. P. Brown, 1874; Daniel Updegraff, 1875; William Storey, 1876; S W. McCollough, 1878, 1888, 1888 and 1893; Robert McClung, 1880, and W. F. Campbell, 1885 and 1890.


Buena Vista was surveyed into town lots in 1847, on the old Thomas Jackson farm-later the Michael Andrew farm-for John McKisson. The same year McKisson opened a store and a hotel, and immediately a half dozen of dwellings sprung up. On October 28, 1852, a great Whig meeting was held there, which merged into an Abolition - Know - Nothing - Whig meeting. In 1851 Isaac Kepple located there, and Nicholas Pontius in 1863. The last named opened a store, as McKisson's successor, and held the trade of the place without competition until 1873. The Buena Vista of 1878 was also known as Peachville, owing to the fact that the post-office was so named on its establishment in 1872. James J. Sutton was postmaster. John Lusk succeeded Mr. Sutton, then came M. B. Hutchison and Mrs. Richards, the present incumbent. A hotel, store, blacksmith shop and a few dwellings marked the place in March of the year named. The drilling of the wells on the Thorn farm, one half mile east, and the Millichamp Brothers' venture, one-fourth mile west, brought the village into prominence. While engaged in superintending the work at his well, Septibus Millichamp was wound in the cable of the machinery and killed.

Buena Vista had, later in 1873, a nominal population of 500, increased to 1,000 at certain times, and about 130 stores and dwellings. Situated in the southwest quarter of Fairview township, it was the center of the celebrated oil district; for round it clustered the oil towns of Angelica, Karns City, Iron City, Modoc, Greece City, Troutman, Millerstown, Fairview and Petrolia. That it was an important business place in the fall of 1873, may be learned from the fact that there were carried on there two hardware stores, two drug stores, two machine shops, two tank shops, two bakeries, two feed stores, two livery stables, two shoemaker's shops, two billiard rooms, two lumber yards, two dry goods stores, two barber shops, two millinery stores, two trimming stores, two sewing machine agencies, a number of hotels and boarding houses, about twenty saloons, a meat market, a dozen of grocery stores, a news depot and a post-office. The law office of Marshall & McCaslin, the offices of Dr. King, formerly of Greece City, and Dr. Oldfield, formerly of Oil City, with the Rev. Dillo's Methodist church, in one of the billiard rooms, and Henderson's school in the grove, contributed to perfect the community. A Methodist church, since moved to Kittanning, was erected there, as well as a United Presbyterian building now standing and used at intervals for worship. In August, 1874, Alexander Storey's big hotel was swept away by fire, and thirty-six other buildings, including four general stores in the center of the town, were reduced to ashes. This calamity did not wipe out the town, by any means; for a few new buildings were erected and such traders as Paul Troutman, Enos Ellenberger and James J. Sutton carried on business there for a number of years after the fire. In 1880 the census enumerators made no mention of the number of inhabitants.

Argyle may be said to date back to May, 1811, when A. L. Campbell the first developer of the southern oil extension, leased thirty-five acres from Robert Campbell near the north township line. John A. Lambing purchased the leases and organized the Robert Campbell Oil Company, with himself and brother, H. L. Taylor, C. D. Angell, B. B. Campbell and the two Browns members thereof. On November 10 the drill struck the Third sand, but the gas and oil catching fire, destroyed the derrick. Within a day or so the flames were extinguished, a new rig put up, and an eighty-barrel well brought into existence. Then the stampede to Argyle commenced. F. M. Campbell built the first house and led in the building enterprise. Within a little while the land was covered with houses, and Argyle became the Mecca of oil men. The Givens gas well, on the Gibson farm, supplied for a long time the light anti heat for Petrolia.

The Argyle Savings Bank, of Petrolia, established in September, 13w, offered interest on time deposits ranging from four to six per cent. The directors of the bank were John Pitcairn, Jr., John Satterfield, H. L. Taylor, George V. Forman, J. J. Vandergrift and George W. Thumm. After passing through many hands, it failed in 1801, injuring only the stockholders.

Near and at Argyle the highest well mouth did not exceed 1,171 feet above the ocean, and that was Bly & Rowley's Number 2, on the A. L. Campbell farm. The well on the Harrop farm, Emery & CaldwelFs producers on the R. D. Camp. bell farm, A. L. Campbell's wells, Satterfielcl & Taylor's wells, and other famous producers, were commenced at points ranging from 1,140 to 1,171 feet above the ocean level.

Angelica, on the Storey and Kepler farms, sprung into existence in June, 1873, when twenty store and dwelling houses were raised and occupied.

Iron City, now practically a part of Millerstown, was a busy place in 1873. Even prior to that date, in 1869, the Reformed society erected a church there, the history of which is given in the chapter on Millerstown. Hardware stores, saloons, hotels, boarding houses and all the institutions of an oil town were there even before the great railroad trestle was built, but the site is now given up to agriculture, the wrecks of derricks speaking of its former greatness.

Haysville is located in the midst of what was a most prolific oil field, where the Union Oil Company, or H. L. Taylor & Company, had, early in the seventies, ninety-seven producers, ranging in depth from 1,630 to 1,700 feet. That known as "Matthew Storey Number 2" opened as a 1,200-barrel producer, and others were equally great gushers. Thomas Hays ultimately became owner of the greater part of the lands, laid out the village round John McCorkle's store, and established his mercantile house there in 1875. A year after N. W. Krause opened his oil well supply store, and fifty or sixty other buildings were erected. Owing to the decrease in production, beginning in 1879, the people sought better fields, and Haysville was deserted.

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