CAMBRIDGE TOWNSHIP - FORMATION - LOCATION - NAME - PHYSICAL FEATURES - EARLY SETTLERS - DRAKE'S MILLS
BOROUGH OF CAMBRIDGEBORO - LOCATION - POPULATION - SETTLEMENT - GROWTH - BUSINESS - THE RAILROAD - PRESENT
INDUSTRIES - INCORPORATION - OFFICERS - NEWSPAPERS - THE CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC - SCHOOLS - CHURCHES - SOCIRTIES
CAMBRIDGE TOWNSHIP was formed from a portion of Venango in 1852. It lies on the north line of the county
near the center and has an area of 12,580 acres, valued on the tax duplicates of 1882 at $250,753. The name was
received from the village, which, doubtless, was so-called by its founder, Mr. Christy, who hailed from Massachusetts,
after the New England city. French Creek enters near the center of its east line, flows across the township, and
bending southward forms the lower part of its western boundary. The northern part of the western boundary is Conneaut
Creek, entering from Erie County and flowing into French Creek. The French Creek flats form excellent grain land,
and the gently rolling surface beyond is a chestnut clay, and though producing good'wheat is better adapted for
grazing. Much of the land in the northern part is low and marshy. The population in 1860 was 1,012, in 1870, 747,
and in 1880, 745. The census of 1860, however, included Cambridge Village, which was enumerated separately afterwards.
The earliest settlers were mostly from the Susquehanna, and were of German and Irish extraction. From 1812 to 1820
there was a strong immigration from Massachusetts. Much later many settlers arrived from New York State, and quite
a settlement of Germans, thirty or forty years ago, took possession of the low lands in the north. A better record
of the earliest settlement could not be obtained than that afforded by the books of the Holland Land Company, which
owned most of the land in this township. The date of the contracts for settlement given below preceded only a few
days the actual date of settlement. or only several months, when the contract was made in winter. In all but two
or three instances the parties named are remembered as early settlers. The acreage is the amount of land agreed
to be granted: Tract 101, Isaac Braden. 150 acres, August 13, 1799, deed executed to C. and J. Snell; 102, David
Carmach, 150 acres, October 10, 1798; 103, Edward Hicks, 100 acres, August 12, 1801, deed executed in 1814; 125,
John St. Clair, 100 acres, June 2, 1802, deed executed: 120, Clement MeGery, 100 acres, August 12, 1801, deed executed
to Jonas Clark, assignee; 127, Benjamin Van Court, 100 acres, August 18, 1801, forfeited; Thomas and Bailey Fullerton
purchased 100 acres of same tract in 1808; 12S, Leonard Doctor purchased 150 acres May 29, 1805; 129, William Findley,
150 acres, May 28, 1798, contract released; David M. Adams purchased 303 acres of same tract March 6, 1807; 130
and 131, Henry Baugher, 150 acres each, May 31, 1797, deeds executed August 25, 1813; Peter Saeger purchased 150
acres of tract 131, June 5, 1805; 132 and 133, Joseph Hutchinson, 150 acres each, November 11, 1797, recovered
and released; 134, Samuel Daniel, 2d, 150 acres, October 9, 1799, recovered by ejeetment in October, 1812; 136,
James Blair, 200 acres, November 8, 1796. re-purchased; 137, Robert Humes, 100 acres, November 8, 1796; 138, John
Shearer, Jr., and Archibald Humes, 191 acres, November 8, 1796, deed executed to Shearer, December 10, 1812; 139,
Archibald Humes, 150 acres, November 9, 1796; Michael Sherritz purchased 100 acres, same tract, September 19, 1808;
141, Robert Humes, 200 acres, November 8, 1796, deed executed in 1813; 142, no early contract.
Isaac Braden lived near the mouth of Conneaut Creek till old age. Calvin Snell, one of the assignees of his claim,
occupied the George Thomas or "sand bank" farm, so called from the large knoll of sand on the place,
from which immense quantities have been removed for building purposes. David Carmach relinquished his contract
and removed to Hayfield Township one and a half miles below Venango. Edward Hicks' selection was on the north bank
of French Creek in the present limits of Cambridgeboro. He came from the Susquehanna and remained in this township
till death. John St. Clair settled in Rockdale Township, but afterward removed elsewhere. Clement McGery did not
remain long, the farm, upon which his assignee, Jonas Clark, resided for many years was just east of the borough
now known as the Langley farm. Benjamin Van Court, who contracted to settle Tract 127. remained only one season.
His father, Job Van Court, an eccentric Hollander, succeeded him and settled in what is now Cambridgeboro, but
was ousted as an intruder by the Holland Company. He was a shoe-maker and remained in the vicinity till his death
in old age. He was very superstitious, and was buried near the State road just south of the borough on a spot which
the children for many years afterward feared to pass at night.
Thomas Fullerton and his sons Bailey, William and James, in 1802 came from near Muncie, and settled a mile northeast
of Cambridge. He at first built his cabin so close to the north banks of French Creek that during freshets it was
invariably partially submerged. He kept a tavern, and is described as a very credulous old gentleman. Among other
anecdotes it is related that a Yankee once sold him his own ax for a new one, first scraping the handle to change
its appearance. Bailey Fullerton lived south of the creek, was a farmer and distiller, and died at his home in
Leonard Doctor, of German descent, coming from Lycoming County, settled where his grandson, Jackson Doctor, now
lives. He died of consumption June 24, 1811. William Findley is not remembered, and could not have remained long.
David M. Adams, by birth an Irishman, emigrating here from the Susquehanna, remained till death.
Henry Baugher was probably the first settler. He patented the tract in the southwest corner of the township, and
afterward settled on Tracts 130 and 131. He managed to hold a settlement on both tracts by building his double
log cabin just on the line, where the Marcy farm now is. Mr. Baugher was a very eccentric character. He was a carpenter
by trade, and removed to Mercer County, where he died.
Peter Saeger was a blacksmith, and died on his farm, which now forms the Sherred and Minium places. Joseph Hutchinson
is not remembered. Samuel Daniel, after the courts decided against him, settled near by. James Blair, an Irishman,
making one of the first selections of land in the township or county, chose a farm on the clay summit, where the
chestnut timber grew heaviest, the farm in Tract 136 now owned by the Allens, under the impression that the largest
trees indicated the best land. He afterward removed to "New Island Flats," Erie County, and there died.
Robert Humes was one of the foremost pioneers. He was a native of the Emerald Isle, and came to Neadville in 1796,
but probably not to Cambridge Township until the spring of 1797. He remained till death on the farm now owned by
D. W. flumes in Tract 141. Archibald Humes, brother of Robert, settled on the Hemstreet farm, Tract 137, and died
there in 1806. John Shearer, a Virginian of Irish descent, settled on Tract 138. Michael Sherritz, a German, was
a life-long settler near the site of the Venango depot.
Other early settlers were: Samuel Jones, at the east end of Tract 136; Mr. Zarus, a German, on the banks of French
Creek, opposite Venango; Frederick Doctor, a bachelor brother of Leonard, afterward removing to Clarion County;
John Hays, Jacob Saeger, brother to Peter, on Tract 130; John Weatherby and William Bailey.
Simeon and Reuben Bishop made the first improvement in the northwest part of the township. They erected the first
saw-mill and also operated a carding-mill, constructing a dam on Conneaut Creek, at what is now Drake's Mills.
John Marvin kept the first store here, and built a grist-mill, which he afterward sold to Mr. Drake.
Drake's Mills Postoffice is a hamlet of several dwelling-houses, a grocery, saw, grist and planing-mill and a blacksmith-shop.
The German Lutheran Church here was erected in 1851, a congregation having been formed a short time previous. Among
its earliest members were: Henry Racob, Frederick Arnaman, Ernst Hornaman and Henry Steinhoff. Rev. Nonamacher
was pas when the edifice was reared. Revs. A. Beardaman, P. Doerr, Goumer and E. Cressman have succeeded him. The
membership is about 100.
The first bridge at Cambridge was built by John St. Clair in 1815 by means raised through private subscriptions.
Doctor & Sherred now own a cheese factory opposite the village of Venango, and Y. Rhodes operates a sawmill
on Little Conneaut.
Farly schools were rare. Occasionally a subscription paper would be circulated, and if a sufficient number of names
were obtained a term would be held in some deserted cabin. Cornelius Campbell is said to have taught the first
school in 1808 on the bank of French Creek. The second was taught by Owen David, who was succeeded by David Terrell.
Cambridgeboro is located on the banks of French Creek near the center of Cambridge Township. It had in 1880
a population of 674 and in 1870 452. The village is quite an old one, though for many years its growth was very
slow. As mentioned in Cambridge Township the Van Court's were the first settlers on Tract 127, upon which the borough
largely stands. Job Van Court's cabin occupied the site of A. B. Ross' residence, Venango Avenue. Bailey Fullerton
moved to the southern part of the village site in 1809, and remained a resident until his death in 1854. He was
a farmer by occupation, also operated a distillery. After the Van Court's were dispossessed, about 1815, this land,
200 acres in extent, was sold by the Holland Land Company to Nathan Cummings, who took possession and dwelt in
a log-house near the present American House at the head of Venango Avenue. Joseph T. Cummings, a resident of Evansburg
and brother to Nathan, became the purchaser of 100 acres from his brother, and about 1822, soon after the turnpike
was constructed, he made the village plat. Nathan Cummings was a physician, and beside him Drs. Lorin West, William
Killison, Joseph Gray, J. A. M. Alexander and Peter Faulkner were early practitioners. John Marvin and Dr. West
kept the first stores, and succeeding them soon after Ralph Snow and John W. McFadden. were early merchants. Edward
Hicks opened a tavern north of French Creek, within the present limits of the borough, prior to 1812, and Thomas
Fullerton was a cotemporary inn-keeper near by. Horatio G. Davis and Nathan Cummings were early tavern-keepers
south of the creek. It was not until about 1860 that it began to improve much. The construction of the A. &
G-. W., now the N. Y., P. & O. Railroad, infused life into the village, and since then its increase has been
steady. The first cheese factory of the tresent system in the county was erected here by George Thomas in 1867.
Kitchen Hoag built the first saw-mill about 1847, where Sherwood & Agnew's mills now are. It was destroyed
by fire a few years later. George Thomas afterward erected a saw-mill in connection with his cheese factory on
East Church Street, but it too was burned to the ground. B. M. Sherwood then erected a saw and planing-mill just
south of French Creek and east of Main Street. It is now owned by Sherwood & Agnew and is the largest establishment
in the village, employing about forty men. The works include beside the saw and planing-mill, a grist-mill and
shovel handle factory. B. B. Reynolds operates a planing-mill and a jelly manufactory. There are also in the borough
a ware Louse, hay press, tannery, marble works, two wagon and carriage-shops, four blacksmith-shops, two shoe-shops,
two harness-shops, a leather and shoe finding establishment and a cooper-shop. The mercantile line is represented
by four dry goods stores, five grocery stores, two drug stores, two furniture stores, two clothing stores, two
hardware stores, one jewelry store, two boot and shoe stores, two millinery stores, two feed stores, two bakeries
and a meat market. There are two good hotels, a bank, organized in 1872, five physicians, three dentists, a photograph
gallery and three livery stables. Many fine residences have been erected within a few years and quite an improvement
in business blocks is noticeable. Among the first fine business structures were the brick banking building erected
by the Kellys and the block of J. B. Wilber. A petition to incorporate Cambridge as a borough, signed by forty-five
citizens, was presented February 16, 1866, to the grand jury, which reported favorably, and the court of Quarter
Sessions confirmed its decision April 3, 1866, ordering an election to be held April 17, 1866, of which W. Thomas
was appointed Judge and H. D. Bertram and E. Burt Inspectors. This election resulted in the selection of the following
officers: Burgess, A. B. Ross; Justice of the Peace, N. L. Snow; Constable, T. L. Barber; Council, D. D. Birchard,
Able Drake, S. B. Hadley, R. W. Perrin and P. K. Carroll; Assessor, Martin Carringer; Auditor, John B. Burt; School
Directors, Jacob Wood, L. M. St. John, William Sitler, A. B. Howe, H. L. Johnson, and J. H. Gray; Judge of Election,
D. C. Mory; Inspectors, H. D. Bertram and Price Wilson. The Burgesses subsequently elected were as follows: S.
H. Ellis, 1867-68; resigned during second term, and W. W. Hyatt appointed to fill vacancy; Martin Carringer, 1869;
A. K. Lefevre, 1870; L. M. St. John, 1871; J. B. Bonner, 1872-73; S. R. Jackson, 1874; E. L. Crumb, 1875; A. Sherwood,
1876; J. 0. Sherred, 1877; R. C. Quay, 1878; T. H. Agnew, 1879-80-81; C. S. Glenn, 1882; A. Sherwood, 1883-84.
The first newspaper venture was made by A. W. Howe, about fifteen years ago (1869). The Index, as it was christened,
was at first a small sixteen-page monthly. It was gradually enlarged, and, winning public favor, became a well
established weekly. Soon after the death of Mr. Howe, in 1872, the paper was purchased by D. P. Robbins, who increased
its circulation largely, and in October, 1877, sold it to F. H. and George O. Morgan; they removed it to Meadville.
Immediately following the departure of the Index W. L. Perry, November 1, 1877, issued the first number of the
Cambridge News. He remained its publisher and editor until April 1, 1883, when Moses & Wade, its present publishers,
purchased it. The News is an eight-page weekly, issued every Thursday. It is independent in politics, and possesses
a highly creditable circulation.
In the summer of 1883 Prof. E. P. Russell opened in Cambridgeboro a Conservatory of Music. Though only in its infancy
this institution has already attained marked success. It has a faculty of six instructors, and includes in its
course vocal and instrumental music, elocution, drawing and painting. Sixty-eight students were in attendance at
the initiatory term.
The first schoolhouse in Cambridgeboro was located on the A. B. Ross lot, Main Street, opposite and a little south
of the Cambridge House. It was a small, one-story frame building, lighted by six windows placed in the roof, this
design having been adopted with intent to promote application to study, by withdrawing from the pupil the possibility
of gazing on external nature. Early teachers were: Mr. Lowry, S. R. Jackson, Ezra Jones and Folly Reader. This
unique structure was succeeded about 1838 with a frame building, erected on the lot adjoining the Methodist Church
lot on the east. It in turn was superseded in 1855 by the two-story frame now used as the town house, and located
on Venango Avenue, on the lot of the present school building, which succeeded it. The present schoolhouse is a
handsome, commodious frame edifice, erected in 1875. cotitaining five departments, all of which are filled to their
The Methodist Episcopal Society erected the first religious edifice in Cambridgeboro in 1832, on East Church Street,
on the site of its present church, built in 1865. The class was organized about 1828, and held its meetings in
the schoolhouse and in John W. McFadden's old distillery, which stood where the Congregational Church now stands.
Among the leading early members of the society were: Christian Blystone, Eleazer Rockwell, Stephen Mory, Bernard
and Rebecca Rockwell and John M. McFadden. Cambridge Circuit was organized in 1831, continuing until 1844. Its
pastors were: A. Young and B. Preston, 1831; H. Kinsley and J. E. Lee, 1832; J. Jenks, 1834; J. Robinson and D.
Richev, 1835; J. H. Whallon and P. D. Horton, 1836; W. B. Lloyd, 1837; W. B. Lloyd and W. W. Lake, 1838; D. Pritchard
and J. B. Locke, 1839; A. Keller, 1840; A. Keller and J. E. Bassett, 1841; D. W. Vorce and R. J. Sibley, 1842;
I. Scofield and B. M. Bear, 1843. This charge was then connected with Rockville charge, but in 1855 and 1856 Cambridge
Circult was temporarily restored, with Revs. A. H. Bowers and N. C. Brown as ministers. Cambridge Circuit, as at
present constituted, was formed in 1878. It includes beside Cambridge the societies at Venango and Skelton, of
Yenango Township. Its pastors have been: J. H. Vance, 1878-79; W. Hollister, 1880-81-82; I. D. Darling, 1883. The
society at Cambridgeboro numbers ninety-five.
The Cambridge Baptist Church was organized in Rockdale Township, October 31, 1812, as the Lebanon Baptist Church,
with the following members: George Miller, Alexander Anderson, Isaac Kelly, John Langley, James Anderson, Sally
Clark. Barbara Miller, Hannah Kelly, Elizabeth Daniel, Christina Daniel and Lydia Anderson. In the early history
of the church every member was required to attend every meeting. For a single failure an excuse was required; if
a member failed twice he was visited by- a committee, which reported at the next meeting. A church building was
erected in Rockdale, but as a majority of the members resided at and about Cambridge the society was removed there,
and a meeting-house erected in 1835 on Venango Avenue. It is now used as a marble-shop. A third church edifice
was built in 1865 on Main Street, during the pastorate of Rev. M. Thomas. His successors in charge of this congregation
have been Revs. Ross Ward, John Burk, J. S. Johnson, A. S. Thompson, H. H. Leamy and S. T. Dean. The last named
took charge in December. 1883. The membership is 115.
The Congregational Church of Cambridgeboro was organized April 21, 1852, with six members: A. B. Ross, D. 0. Wing,
Mrs. Maria T. Fullerton, Mrs. Harriet B. Ross, Mrs. Rebecca Rockwell and Mrs. Jane Wing. A Congregational Society
had been organized a short time, and had erected a church building. From this society both this church and the
Presbyterian Church originated. By mutual agreement the Presbyterians retained the edifice already erected, and
the Congregational society at once built a church structure at the southwest corner of Church and Prospect Streets,
which they still occupy. Rev. L. L. Radcliff was the first minister, supplying the church several years. His successor,
Rev. U. T. Chamberlain, was called in. 1856 and remained till 1862. Rev. William Irons then served four years,
and was followed by Rev. W. D. Henry, who preached here until October, 1870. Rev. D. L. Gear was pastor from April,
1872, to January, 1873, and Rev. George Adams from January, 1874, to July, 1875. Rev. Dwight Dunham was called
in May, 1876, and his resignation was accepted in September, 1878. Rev. W. G. Marts then served from the autumn
of 1880 to February, 1882; and his successor, Rev. S. B. Roseboro, the present pastor, took charge in November,
1882. The present membership is about sixty.
The First Presbyterian Church of Cambridgeboro was organized with twenty-three members, April 22, 1852, by Revs.
Craighead, F. W. Beebe, and Elder Kerr. The house of worship, located on the north side of Church Street, was erected
about the same time, as indicated in the sketch of the Congregational Church. Rev. G. W. ffampsou was the first
pastor. He was succeeded by Rev. William A. McCarrel, and he turn in 1875 by the present pastor, Rev. William Grassie.
The church membership is about 100.
A Universalist congregation formerly flourished here. A frame church was built many jears ago north of French Creek.
The society in time became too weak to maintain an organization and expired. It was re-organized in 1875 and held
services until 1881.
A German Lutheran Church existed in Cambridgeboro from about 1869 to 1882, but had no meeting-house. It was a division
from the congregation at Drake's Mills, and rejoined it after a separation of thirteen years.
Covenant Lodge, No. 473, F. & A. M., was instituted July 19, 1870, with H. D. Persons, W. M. W. C. Gillett,
S. W.; and G. D. Horn, J. W. It now has a membership of seventy-four, and meets the second and fourth Fridays of
Cambridge Lodge, No. 901, I. O. O. F., was granted a charter January 14, 1875. Its charter officers were John Greene,
N. G.; Bemus Buckley, V. G.; Willard S. Skelton, Secretary; James H. Skelton, Assistant Secretary; George D. Humes,
Treasurer. It numbers seventy-seven members, and meets every Saturday evening.
Lady Haworth Lodge, D. of B., No. 121, was chartered February 26, 1879.
Cambridge Grange, 168, P. of H., was organized July 1, 1874, with the following members: George D. Humes, J. B.
Kingsley, NI. H. Smith, A. O. Rockwell, VT. C. Gillett, N. L. Snow, D. P. Robbins, Elizabeth Humes, M. L. Rockwell,
Lucia Chapin, F. C. Chapin, Mrs. Nancy Gillett, Mrs. S. A. Snow, Lewis Knapp, S. B. Root, Clarissa Knapp, Tempie
Smith, Mrs. NI. NI. Kingsley and Mrs. E. A. Humes. In 1882 the Grange erected a handsome brick hall and store building,
at a cost of $3,500. Its membership is seventy, with meetings each alternate Saturday morning.
Cambridge Lodge, No. 662, K. of H. was instituted May 15, 1877. Its charter members were: D. P. Robb4ns, C. F.
Chamberlain, W. W. Hyatt, J. B. Cease, A. F. Moses, F. A. Drake, R. B. Drake, J. S. Johnson, S. B. Root, T. T.
Root, J. B. Burt and D. M. Jones. The membership is forty-seven, and the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month
are set apart for meetings.
Cambridgeboro Lodge, No. 181. A. O. U. W., was granted a charter August 18, 1880. Its first officers were: B. B.
Reynolds, P. M. W.; M. H. Luse, NI. W.; B. Sherwood, G. F.; Rev. A. S. Thompson, 0.; E. S. Kelley, Recorder; P.
T. Root, Financier; P. F. Sherwood, Receiver; J. W. Rockwell, G.; Samuel Hise, I. W.; U. T. Fink, O. W. It has
a large membership, and meets every Monday evening.
Alex B. Langley Post, No. 301, G. A. R., was organized January 13, 1883, and now has a membership of thirty-three.
Its meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. The first officers were: NI. H. Luce, Com.;
C. S. Glenn, S. V. C.; J. C. Ames, J. V. C.; M. Miner, Chaplain; James Rockwell, Sergeant; James O'Donnel, O. of
D.; B. B. Reynolds. Q. M., A. J. Williams, Adjutant; F. M. Cole, O. of G.