HISTORY OF CLARION BOROUGH.
FEW of the county seats of the Commonwealth arose under circumstances similar to those of Clarion. It came into
existence on a spot, which, a year previous, was destitute of a single occupied habitation; its origin was purely
political, the very site having been determined by the commissioners. A town erected under such circumstances,
with a forced growth we may say, is one of the rare exceptions to the rule which makes a rapid rise followed by
a rapid decline. But its selection as the seat of the law's administration assured for it a permanency that will
endure as long as the execution of justice remains a part of our social existence.
The land on which the county seat now stands lay on each side of a notably level stretch of the turnpike, which
had been at times utilized by rural horsemen as a racing ground. On either side extended a thicket of pines of
medium. growth, interspersed by some goodly oaks and chestnuts. There was a small but abandoned clearing on the
old academy lot. The only opening beside the turnpike was a path which led off southwardly through the dense underwood
to the "old camp ground" on the hillside, north of South street, and east of 5th avenue.'
Some time in the fall of 1839 (the date cannot be exactly ascertained, but it was probably early in October, soon
after the delivery of the deeds), the town plot, containing two hundred acres, was surveyed by John Sloan, jr.
The original bounds of the village - rectangular in form - were, on the north, the line of the outlots north of
Liberty street and parallel thereto, except an offset fifty yards wide, and the length of an outlot, at the western
end of Liberty street, and another, the width and length of an outlot occurring at the corner of P. Slattery's
Heirs; on the east, the western side of 8th avenue; on the south, a line parallel to and the width of two outlots,
or 32 rods back of South street; on the west, beginning at the southwest corner of the Protestant cemetery, the
eastern side of the yet unopened 1st avenue. The streets running lengthwise were Liberty, Main, Wood, South; those
crosswise, 2d East (7th avenue), 1st East (6th ave.), Market (5th ave.), 1st West (4th ave.), 2d West (3d ave.),
and 3d West (2d ave.) Main and Market streets were made 8o feet wide; 4th and 6th avenues 70 feet, and all the
others 6o. The alleys are each 20 feet in width. The inlots, 275 in number, measure one fourth an acre each, being
6o feet wide and 180 in length; the outlots, of which there were 50, averaged an acre and a half in area. The lineal
angle of the town is 62 degrees west of north.
The public sale of lots began October 30, 1839, and continued three days. The underbrush had been cleared out and
the streets were opened through the trees. The commissioners and their crier proceeded along these avenues, stopping
at each lot and offering it for sale to the highest bidder. Many sales were made, a large crowd was present each
day, and the bidding was spirited. Lots went off at what were considered very good figures for a town in embryo.
No. 25, now covered by M. Arnold's block, brought the highest price; it was purchased by William Jack, of Westmoreland
county, for $757.50. No. 1, the Kribbs corner, opposite, was the next in value, selling to Jonathan Agey for $560.
The town was named by Commissioners Pritner, Potter, and Hamilton.
Early in May, 1840, people began to arrive and erect houses. The sudden advent of a population, composed chiefly
of the mechanics and laborers engaged by the jail contractors, prospective merchants, tradesmen, hotel and boarding
house keepers, found the place unprepared to shelter them all. Those who could not find accommodation at the four
houses which I shall presently mention, went to Strattanville for the night. After the frames were up, rough boards
were hastily clapped on, shanty fashion, to answer the demand for shelter, and the work of putting on weatherboards,
then wrought by hand, and requiring much time and labor, was deferred till more pressing wants were supplied. People
were packed in half finished houses, windowless, doorless, and with the merest modicum of furniture; everything
much as in a new oil town so far as "roughing it" amid discomfort, mud and disorder were concerned the
comparison extends little farther.
In 1838 a rather large cabin, having two or three rooms on the ground floor, a loft, and with a log stable in the
rear, stood on what is now the southwestern corner lot at South street and Sixth Avenue, near the spring on South
street. Traces of the foundation and chimney yet remain. Who built it and when it was built, is uncertain, but
it probably dated back to camp meeting times. In 1838 Philip Clover, sr., put James Brinkley into it to hold possession
against McFadden and the Kellys who had set up a claim to the land. Brinkley and his family occupied it till the
winter of 1839, and it gave accommodation to some of those who attended the sales. It appears then to have been
deserted until it fell into the hands of William Clark in the spring of 1840. Clark built a shed addition to it,
to be used as a kitchen and dining room. Under his proprietorship and that of George Lightner, a German, besides
the family of the host, this house sheltered between fifteen and twenty five unhappy boarders.
Samuel Garvin, in the early '30's, had taken down a small frame house at Clugh's Mill, moved it and put it up on
a little property he had purchased east of the future town. It stood on the lot now belonging to __ __, nearly
opposite J. E. Wood's residence. Here Mr. Garvin plied his trade of shoe maker, cleared a few fields for cultivation,
and occasionally burnt a tar kiln, and boated the product to Pittsburgh. This house and the South street cabin
were the first houses worthy of the name on the site of Clarion. It is doubtful to which belongs the priority;
probably to the former.
As soon as the county seat had been located, a Mrs Kate Empy, who had lived a short time in Strattanville, and
kept a shrewd eye on the prospective town, began to erect a frame dwelling just outside of the town limits; it
is now the residence of Dr. Strickler. Here she opened a cake and beer shop, and entertained many during the sales,
realizing in the three days the snug little sum of $100, quite a bonanza for those days. This is the earliest new
building within the present limits of the borough. Subseqnently, when the town actually began, Mrs. Empy sold this
property and opened a public house in a more central situation.
In 1839, before the laying out of the town, Peter Clover built a log house of one story and a half; at the west
end of Main street, and soon after sold it to John R. Clover, who with his family first occupied it. It stood where
Martin Meisinger's dwelling now stands. Amid a number of new buildings that sprang up almost simultaneously in
May, 1840, it is difficult to ascertain the very first one. It was probably Empy's tavern, afterwards the residence
of Colonel William T. Alexander, now the property of S. Frampton's heirs. The first brick house was J. Kerr's block,
now owned by J. C. Reid, commenced in 1840, and completed early in '41; the next was McLain's brick building near
the corner of Third Avenue and Main street, since destroyed by fire. The first house on Wood street was Jos. Kelly's,
at the corner of Third Avenue, now the dwelling of William Forkum. Money did not abound in those days; none of
the first corners were wealthy, and the majority were of very limited means. As a consequence a great many were
compelled to begin at the wrong end in building houses, erecting a small building or shed first, back from the
street, as a rear wing, and leaving the front in expectancy. For the first year or so most of the private houses
were small, mean structures of this sort, set back among the pines and underwood. The uncouth appearance of the
infant town may be gathered from the following description by an old citizen who arrived in August, 1840:
"As I had come one hundred and twenty five miles to see the place with a view of making it my future home,
I looked around with considerable interest. Although disposed to take a favorable view of everything, there was
very little I could see to fascinate. Previous to the spring of 1840 it had been a piece of poor pine wood land,
and the only money that had ever been made off it had been by John C. Corbett, who some years before had gathered
up the pine knots on the site of the town and burnt a tar kiln, and realized out of it eleven barrels of tar. The
main street was the Waterford and Susquehanna turnpike, and the sides were occasionally ornamented with piles of
half rotten logs that had been cut and piled when the turnpike was made.
"Quite a number of houses were up along both sides, but if any were finished I did not see them. Generally
only enough land was cleared on which to set the building, and the back end was frequently lost in bushes and brush
heaps. The town looked to me more like a camp meeting than the metropolis of a flourishing county. Mr. Clark's
hotel (Loomis House) was open for the accommodation of strangers and travelers, and I suppose had a bar for the
spiritual refreshment of his customers. The house was up, roofed, and partitioned off into rooms and apartments,
and the outside doors were hung; but the carpenters and plasterers were still at work, the painters had not begun
yet, and I slept my first night in Clarion in a room with a sheet hung up for a door. The window sash had not been
put in, but there were sheets and garments hung up so as to partially shut out the view from the outside.
"Dr. Ross had introduced me to Jacques W. Johnson, a young lawyer from Cumberland Valley, somewhere about
Carlisle. He was very polite, and introduced me to everybody we met. We walked out the west end of the town as
far as the turn of the road below where the fair ground now is. It was all woods with a thick undergrowth of bushes.
The Diamond looked hard; the pine trees had been grubbed out, and were lying on the ground with roots protruding
up, some of them ten feet. The masons were building the wall of the jail yard; the foundation was finished and
the court house had not been commenced. A thick growth of young white pine extended all the way from the Alexander
House to the Loomis House. The streets had generally been cut out and the brush burned, but logs and stumps were
everywhere. On the west end of the town a couple of fields had been cleared south of the turnpike, extending back
of where the seminary now stands.
"Living in the town at that time seemed very much like camping out Those who had come to stay were generally
young married people, starting in the world on small means, and were from all parts of the State, but in their
primitive way of living soon formed acquaintances, and all were busy getting their houses ready for the winter.
Thomas Gahagan lived in a little house, still standing, east of the nunnery. Two other small, one story houses
were occupied between that and 7th avenue, one on Mr. Montgomery's lot and one on the A. G. Corbett lot. Samuel
M. McCamant had a blacksmith shop where the Republican Gazette office now stands, and the kitchen end of the house
was up and occupied by him. James McKee lived in the kitchen end of J. T. Maffet's house. The next building that
I recollect was the Great Western Hotel (D. B. Cur11's lot); it was up and roofed, but not far enough along to
occupy as a hotel. The next was a frame store room, back off the street on the east side of the Jones House lot.
The Jesse D. Porter house was up and occupied by a man named Sloan, a cabinet maker. Between that and Dr. Pritner's
house he had built a long shop and wareroom, which long afterwards was moved to the rear end of the Jones House
and made into a kitchen and dining room. Dr. Pritner was in his house (now the postoffice). Lindsay C. Pritner
was living in a frame house on the east side of the Kribbs block lot, and had a store in front of it. In the upper
end of the town the settlers that I recollect were Andrew Gardner, M. McMurtrie, Wilson S. Packer, Joseph Kelly,
William Black. Jonatham Frampton was living in the shell of a house on the lot now owned by Joseph H. Patrick.
Ground was broken for the Kerr block, now John C. Reid's. Alexander Reynolds was having the house and store built
where Captain Alexander now lives. Wilson & Barber had a store on where the Arnold block now stands. An old
Mrs. Empy had the shell of the Colonel Alexander house up and was keeping tavern in it. The lot occupied by the
Frampton block was covered with a growth of white oak timber, and the whole square beyond it was virgin forest."
Early life in Clarion presented some curious features, necessarily when an influx of people from the old and civilized
communities came in contact with the raw and rude surroundings of an upstart town in the wilderness. For some time
people were too much engrossed in securing a roof over their heads, and comparative comfort, to unite in social
intercourse beyond that of an every day character. With the advent of the legal force, mostly pleasure loving younkers
with plenty of spare time on their hands, a new element was contributed to the life of the place. The hotels became
the social headquarters, but the round of gayeties was as circumscribed as the luxuries were limited Card parties
were the rule among the gentlemen. Dominoes were indulged in by both sexes. Yet, hampered as it was, the spirit
of polite and social intercourse, centainly less artificial, was perhaps more general in the town's society then
than it is now. A couple of balls at the Great Western in the first winters, which attracted a number from Brookville
and Strattanville, went far to wrest the palm of social prestige from those older and more aristocratic neighbors.
The new jail, under the regime of Assistant Sheriff Speer and his comely daughters, and while yet untainted by
the presence of criminals, enjoyed with the hotels the favor of pleasure seekers. Hither betimes. the youth of
the town gathered and merrily whiled the hours away with games and dances. The vacant cells rang with innocent
laughter, and the prison walls and grated windows looked down on the mazes of the cotillion and Virginia reel.
Some laughable accounts are preserved of the mishaps of the beaux in piloting their fair partners through the brush
and mud, and over the logs, dabris, and various obstacles encountered on their return.
One of the amenities of the early years were the house and barn raisings, which were very numerous. No one went
round to collect a crowd; when the structure was ready the builder would raise a loud halloo, and every one dropped
his work, the clattering of hammers ceased, and all ran to the "frolic." While the full complement of
workmen were on hand during the construction of the court house and jail, the village was a bustling one. In the
pleasant evenings the men beguiled the time by throwing the sledge and bar, wrestling, and pitching quoits, and
Main street was enlivened by the throng of on lookers, and participants in these impromptu sports.
Intercourse with the outer world was furnished by the stage line over the Bellefonte and Meadville turnpike. A
daily coach passed through town, one day east and the next west, thus bringing the eastern mail every alternate
day. Prior to 1845 the Pittsburgh mail was carried on horseback from Freeport to Strattanville, and thence brought
to Clarion by stage. In July, 1845, James McElwaine, of Freeport, established a tri weekly hack and mail line between
that point and Clarion. A trip to Pittsburgh in those days was a tedious affair of not less than forty eight hours.
The postoffice was opened in 1840, in the store room of Wilson & Barber, where G. W. Arnold's block now stands;
the building was frame and had a portico front. David Wilson was the first postmaster; he was succeeded by John
Lyon. Clarion's subsequent postmasters were Seth Clover, Hugh A. Thompson, J. N. Hetherington, Miles Beatty, Jesse
D. Porter, Miles Beatty again, C. C. Brosius, who moved the office to the small brick building adjoining the residence
of N. Myers; Miller Beatty, and M. M. Kaufman. In 1841 a voluntary census revealed a population of 714; probably
one hundred of these were non resident mechanics and laborers employed on the public buildings; 1842 saw a disproportionate
increase in the town's numbers; it became evident that the new county seat had attracted more than it could support,
and as a consequence a reactionary exodus in 1842-3 left the town with its normal quota of inhabitants. In 1850
Clarion contained 719 souls. Mr. Sherman Day, compiler of "Historical Collections of Pennsylvania," visited
Clarion in 1842, and thus flatteringly describes it: "The court house is an elegant structure of brick, surmounted
by a cupola, and the county prison is very neatly built of sandstone from the neighboring quarries. The land reserved
for a public square was shaded by a beautiful grove of oaks, part of the original forest. But it was compelled
to bow to the ax of modern improvement. The neatness and good taste which mark both the private and public buildings,
and a brisk air of enterprise along the street, make a forcible impression upon the traveler. There is a spacious
academy of brick at the eastern end of the village. Presbyterian and Methodist churches are organized, and the
Catholics are about organizing, but none have hitherto erected a house of worship."
The trees and bushes in the public squares were taken out by Lot Curl, David Roll, and others, under the direction
of the commissioners, in the fall of 1840 and the spring of 1841. Besides Frampton and Craig's sheds, three small
temporary frame offices were put up on the Diamond, the prothonotary's and John B. Butler's, immediately opposite
the court house, and a shed for the commissioners on its southeastern corner. These were removed soon after the
completion of the court house. "Gilmore's Row," a group of four humble offices, adorned the eastern side
of the north square, on the present property of J. H. Sweny, esq. The corner building was Gilmore & Thompson's
legal shop, the next was occupied by the Iron County Democrat; its neighbor was D. W. Foster's law office, and
the old election house was sacred to the guardianship of the peace in the person of George B. Hamilton, esq. Thomas
Sutton had a one story office on the Kribbs corner.
By an act of April 6, 1841, the village was incorporated as a borough, with limits as originally described. The
citizens had anticipated the legislative act, and held an election the previous month. Jas. Sloan was chosen burgess;
James McKee, high constable; S. M. McMurtrie, borough constable; George B. Hamilton and Jesse Teats, justices;
Edward Derby, Hugh A. Thompson, A. Richards, Joseph Shoemaker, J. W. Coulter, town council; James Goe and John
Lyon, school directors; the municipality met in one of the rooms of the courthouse, the general place for all kinds
Frampton and Craig, the jail contractors, on their arrival here, put up a rude shanty near the northwestern
corner of the public square, to be used as a store for trading with their employees; this was the first mercantile
stand in town. The first regular store was opened by John Potter on the east end of the Jones House lot. Potter
sold dry goods, groceries, and a general assortment of merchandise. Lindsay Pritner started the next shop on the
lot covered in part by the annex to the Kribbs block. About the same time Wilson and Barber erected a store room
one door west of the Forest House. Not long after Lyon and Thompson put in a general stock in the room of the Reynolds
building, now occupied by J. K. Boggs & Co. The two latter were the leading firms during the first two or three
years. Myers and Hetherington were the first to introduce an extensive line of hardware at their general store,
now Rankin's. R. and J. McGuffy opened the earliest drug store in a lowly shop, now the office of Hon. W. L. Corbett.
John, familiarly known as "Jerusalem" Hysung, a German, started a bakery and pastry shop on Elss's corner
in 1841. He was a very ingenious man, going into the woods, hewing the timbers, and constructing the frame of the
house himself. Here the leading citizens used to gather in the evenings and discuss the news, politics, jumbles
and spruce beer. Hysung's successor was George Wesner, who converted the stand into a restaurant and sort of grocery.
It was under this administration that it acquired the name of "Brimstone Corner," and for many years
the corner faithfully maintained its reputation. Wesner, although unlicensed, dispensed liquors on the sly to his
regular patrons; and his stuffy little rooms were the scene of many a jovial carousal, often ending in a free for
Drs. James Ross and John T. Pritner, previously of Strattanville, in 1840 entered into partnership and began practice
at Clarion. John H. Boyd, a brother of J. K. Boyd, the attorney, was another of the earliest representatives of
the medical profession, but did not remain long. Dr. E. Greene practiced here a short time in 1845.
In the mechanical arts Thomas Gahagan, Richard Wilson, A. Richards, Samuel Whisner, were among the earliest resident
carpenters and joiners. Geo. Dale was a plasterer. Provines and Hilbruner, west of Wilson and Barber's store, had
the first tin shop, starting in April, 1841. William Craig, a brother of James M., of Frampton & Craig, had
an humble tailoring establishment in a shed adjoining their store on the Diamond; and Robert Wood soon opened another
shop, advertising an offer of ten dollars per month and board for journeymen tailors. Thomas Newell was the town's
first cobbler; he was soon followed by Robert Goble and E. W. Everding. J. A. Kerr kept the first saddlery; Henry
Gompers the next; the latter had his shop above Wilson and Barber's store. Samuel McCamant, Samuel Holzberry, and
Peter Aldinger were Clarion's first knights of the anvil. Aldinger had a shop on the former Leopold Guth property,
at Sixth and Wood. Holzberry dressed the tools of the stone masons and mechanics, and clinked the iron in the lot
immediately back of the jail. "Sam." Holzberry was one of the characters of the early village. His helpmate,
assisted by himself in spare moments, acted as laundress for the workmen, and they might be seen on bright days,
pounding away at the soaked garments of the "vile mechanicals," after the primitive fashion, with sticks,
in the vain attempt to extract all the dirt from them. It was one of the regular amusements of their patrons to
load their pockets with stones and fusillade, with hideous racket, the shanty of their tool dresser and washerman.
James Sloan and Adam Mooney started chair making and painting shops simultaneously; the former in a low building
on the J. D. Porter lot; the latter two doors east of the Centennial House at the house still standing there. Sloan
was succeeded by Nichols & Ross, and they by Enoch Alberson, who extended the line to general cabinet making.
D. K. Turney in 1842 opened a cabinet and chair shop at the corner of Wood street and Third avenue, and William
Shaw soon after opened another adjoining the Alexander House. Charles R. Waters established Clarion's first foundry
on the residence lot of James Boggs, esq. Thomas West and Jesse Love operated a pottery at a very early date on
the northeast the first livery stable in the rear of the Great Western; after him were Charles R. Waters and A.
Johnson. The original brewery, built about 1845 by a German named Peters, stood near the head of Knapp's Run, on
the east end of Main street, north side. Mr. Tritsch followed Peters.
The first barber shop was presided over by Alexander Johnson, a colored man, who opened it in 1844, in one of the
small frame buildings on Main street, where Guth's brick now stands. Johnson had a versatile genius; in connection
with the tonsorial shop he ran a regular eating house, supplying oysters, tripe, pigs feet, etc. Later he went
into the livery business. John Clark was a hatter, opposite the Porter house, previous to embarking in the mercantile
business. Miss Rebecca Corse, afterwards Mrs. J. B. Loomis, first ministered to feminine fashionable wants as milliner
and mantua maker, at the Forest House. John Beck was the first watch maker; his shop stood where Kaufman's block
was afterwards built. In 186- James Brown fitted up an humble photograph (tintype) gallery in the upper story of
Elss's block. He was succeeded by A. Bonnet, he by C. C. Brosius, and finally in 1876, came the present artist,
Mr. F. M. Lewis. Much of the early work was done by traveling daguereotypists who had movable galleries.
Hotels. - The first pretense at a hostelry was the cabin and its frame wing, at South street and Sixth avenue,
before mentioned, as appropriated and used by William Clark, pending the erection of the Forest House.
Mrs. Empy's tavern and boarding house was the first finished hostelry and plastered house in the town; this is
now the property of Samuel Frampton's heirs, formerly that of William T. Alexander. It was known as the Eagle House.
Mrs. Empy was succeeded in the management by William D. Louden, and he, after a short time, by Joseph G. Shoemaker.
In 1843 John S. McPherson, formerly of the Clarion Exchange, took charge of this house; finally John Reed became
landlord. It next became the property of William T. Alexander, es., and ceased to be used as a hotel.
The next hotel thrown open for the accommodation of the public was the Forest House, now the Loomis, in August,
1840 The Clarks only managed the Forest House a short time before they returned to Brookville. Robert Barber took
the place, ran it a year or so, and in 1843 Seth Clover became proprietor in 1845 John B. Loomis purchased the
property, and under his management the stand attained an excellent reputation. He added the third story. After
Captain Loomis's death in 186-, the hotel was conducted for some years by his widow and sons.
The Great Western, whose site is occupied by D. B. Curli's block, was constructed in 1840-1, by Colonel James W.
Coulter, from Butler county, and enjoyed with the Forest House the greatest share of patronage. After a short lease
to H. M. R. Clark, Sheriff D. Delo became next proprietor in 1847, and ____ McLain. In 1853 the house was burned
down and not rebuilt, Mr. Curll buying the property.
William Alexander and Greenberry Wilson came from Huntingdon county in the spring of 1841, and camped out several
weeks under some oaks near Strickler and Ray's foundry, before finding more fixed accommodations. In 1841 Mr. Alexander
built the rear part of the Alexander, originally known as the Union House. In the succeeding spring he erected
the brick half; the frame end, formerly the residence of Robert Potter, was attached later. Mr. Alexander remained
as host here till his death in 1866 or '67. Mr. Joseph. D. Thompson then managed it for three years. Since that
time the hotel has passed through a number of changes, and was finally destroyed by fire during Mr. F. Dietz's
administration, in May, 1886.
The Clarion Exchange, where the McLain dwelling stands, was one of the earliest brick buildings, and was put up
in 1840 and '41 by Joseph Foster. Its first landlords were McPherson and McMurtrie, later McPherson alone. Subsequently
Joseph Foster and Andrew Gardner managed it. When D. McLain occupied it as a dwelling house its existence as a
hotel ceased. This building was burned January, 1878.
The Oakland, now the Jones House, was built by William Furgeson. At first only the rear, the house was subsequently
brought to the level of the street; it was two storied. Mr. Furgeson failing, the property fell into the hands
of Rev. George Lyon, one of his creditors, and was purchased from him in 1847, by Mr. H. M. R Clark, who built
up a reputation for it as an excellent hostelry, and continued proprietor till 1866, being succeeded by ex-Sheriff
S. S. Jones. Under Mr. Jones's management it became the leading inn of the town; he added the third story, the
rear wing, and erected the present commodious stable; but these improvements involved Mr. Jones in financial difficulties,
and the stand was finally sold to A. H. Beck.
Colonel Coulter, after retiring from the Great Western, purchased the upper of the Kerr buildings, and opened a
general store. In 1876 he converted this into a hotel, and erected a third story. Colonel Coulter conducted the
house till his death in 1882, and afterwards Mrs. Coulter for a while. The Coulter House had a number of managers
after Mrs. Coulter's death in 1883, and was sold to the present proprietor, M. Boyce, in 1885.
Mr. Nicholas Tritsch, in 1876, built a new front to the dwelling house erected by John McPherson, and converted
the building into a hotel, the Centennial House. After running it a short time, Mr. Herman Sandt became proprietor
under lease. Since his exit this hotel has been successively conducted by Mrs. Tritsch, his relict, Dietz &
Markley, Joseph Fasenmyer, Mrs. Tritsch again, and the present proprietor is Thomas Fleckenstein.
Societies. - Besides the political Hickory and Henry Clay clubs, the most noteworthy of the old non secret associations
of the town was the Clarion Lyceum. The Lyceum was a select literary and debating club, formed in December, 1843.
The first officers were, president, Charles McCrea; vice president, James M. Craig; secretary, Amos Myers; reviewer,
B. J. Reid. They met weekly, and the quarterly debates held in the court room were open to the public. This institution,
though small in membership, represented no small amount of talent and brains. It lived four or five years.
Women's Christian Temperance Union. The Clarion Union, the first in the county, was organized March 14, 1884, with
fifty four members. The original members were, president, Mrs. P. P. Pinney; vice presidents, Mrs. L. J. Shoemaker,
C. Smith, W. H. Mossman, Theo. S. Wilson, James Campbell. Present officers: President, Mrs. James Campbell; vice
presidents, Mrs. N. Myers, W. I. Reed, Charles Leeper; recording secretary, Mrs. Clara Coblentz; corresponding
secretary, Mrs. S. Win Wilson; treasurer, Mrs. J. L. Shallenberger. At present the Clarion W. C. T. U. numbers
twenty members, its numerical strength having been diminished by the organization of the Young Women's Christian
Temperance Union, May 20, 1886. The Clarion division of the W. C. T. U. in 1886, expended $626.40 in the cause
of temperance. Meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month.
The county organization took form December 4, 1884, under the auspices of Mrs. Frances S. Swift, the State president.
Since that time sixteen local unions have been established, making seventeen in all. Mrs. J. S. Elder, of Clarion,
is president; Mrs. Keeley, Edenburg, corresponding secretary; Miss Finley, Lamartine, recording secretary; Mrs.
N. Myers, Clarion, treasurer.
The La Coterie Club, a social organization, was chartered December 30, 1885. It has a suite of pleasant rooms in
Kribbs's block. Its active members number twenty. President, F. J. Maffet.
Clarion Athletic Association, organized November, 1885, with John W. Reed, president. It rented Kribbs's Hall and
fitted it up with a complete set of gymnastic apparatus. The membership is about twenty.
John B. Loomis Post, No. 205, G. A. R., was established in May, 1881, with H. Wetter, post commander. There were
twenty eight charter members. The present number of members in good standing is forty five. Present commander,
John B. Patrick. It meets the 2d and 4th Tuesday of each month in Arnold's (frame) block.
Woman's Relief Corps, whose object is to cooperate in the charitable and decorative work of the G. A. R., was organized
in Clarion February, 1886, with fifty one members. Corps number, 36. Mrs. Nettie Lewis was first president, Mrs.
Lucy Alexander senior vice president. The present officers: President, Mrs. A. H. Alexander; vice president, Mrs.
Maggie Campbell; treasurer, Mrs. J. H. Patrick. The W. R. C. meets semi monthly in the G. A. R. Hall.
Knights of Labor, Local Assembly 9881 (Local, i. e., not belonging to a district, and directly subordinate to the
General Assembly) was organized in Clarion March 22, 1887, with about fifty members. The officers are not given
to the public.
I. O. O. F. Clarion Lodge, No. 252, was organized in 1847.
Clarion Encampment, No. 90, I. O. O. F., exists in connection with the above.
Clarion Lodge (Blue) of Free and Accepted Masons, No. 277, was chartered in 1853, with J. P. Brown, worthy master;
Wm. B. Brown, senior warden; James E. Johnson, first junior warden. Its present W. M. is A. H. Sarver.
Clarion Lodge, No. 213, A. O. U. W., was organized by J. E. Fisher, March, 1886, with thirty one charter members.
Pastmaster workman, J. E. Fisher; master workman, Joseph H. Partrick. Meetings every Thursday night at G. A. R.
The Knights of Maccabees have also an organization here. The Sons of Temperance, Artisans' Order of Mutual Protection,
and Red Men, secret societies, once existed in Clarion, but are now defunct.
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