HISTORY OF CURLLSVILLE BOROUGH
By W. W. Deatrick
CURLLSVILLE is a somewhat scattered village located in the southwest corner of Monroe township, and mainly on
the right bank of the Big Licking Creek.
As far as can be learned the first settler here was James Pinks, the pioneer merchant of the county, who early
in the present century built a log house near the creek.
The town took its name from Mr. William Curll, who by some is regarded as the first settler. It appears, however,
that Bennsville would have been the more fitting name, as the lots were chiefly sold from the Benn farm, which
lay on the right bank of the creek. Benn, however, lived a little out of town, and as Curll lived in the town and
kept a store there, the place was called after the latter.
At an early day Curllsville was the only postoffice in the southern part of the county, according to the statement
of Judge Clover in the County Atlas (p. 9.) It is probable, however, that the postoffice was not in Curllsville,
but about a mile south of the town, where David Stoner, who was remarkable for his height, standing about seven
feet in his boots, kept a store, and was postmaster at an early date, and for years after Curllsville was laid
out. The storehouse is still standing on the west side of the Watterson road opposite the residence of Mr. Thompson.
At that time the mail was carried from Greensburg, Westmoreland county, to Strattanville, the round trip being
made in a week. The postoffices on the route in our county then were Maple Grove, near Rimersburg, at Stoner's,
Reidsburg, and Strattanville.
The village is well supplied with stores. There are the general stores of the Patrick Brothers, L. C. Pritner,
and E. M. Lee; also the millinery establishment of Mrs. S. J. Pence. A. W. Hunter carries on an undertaking establishment,
and manufactures and keeps in stock a good assortment of domestic and city made furniture.
Among the industries of the town must be mentioned the pottery, operated by Mr. Hamilton; the brickyard by Thomas
Lee; smithies by John T. Snyder and by S. T. Jones, the latter also being engaged in the manufacture and repair
of buggies and carriages; and the wagonmaker's shop of E. B. Lewis. A grist mill is situated on the right bank
of Licking Creek, at the eastern end of the town, generally known as the Keystone; it is driven by steam, the water
supply for this purpose being drawn from the creek near by. The mill was built by Philip Kaster, remodeled by Jeff.
Lee and Andrew Lee, and is now operated by Messrs Aites and brother. Before the erection of this mill there was
a mill on the opposite side of the creek lower down. Near the grist mill is an old saw mill, which was formerly
operated by Jeff T. Lee. About 1846 the Keystone Foundry was established by Andrew Lee, Moses and Daniel Conrad,
and George Keller, some or all of the parties being from Huntingdon county. It successively passed into various
hands, Kaster's and others, and finally J. M. Turney's, under whose management it burned down.
For some years there was a tannery, originally established and carried on by John M. Reynolds, who was also engaged
in harness making and the saddlery business.
The public school of the borough is accommodated in a two story frame, weather boarded building, originally erected
by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and for some time used by them as a lodge hall.
Churches. - Methodist Church. - The town contains two churches. The Methodist Church, at present served by Rev.
Weidron, is near the edge of the village on the Rimersburg road; it is a neat wooden building, seating over three
hundred worshipers, and surmounted by a belfry containing a sweet toned bell. The church was erected in 1870.
Grace Reformed Church. - The other church is known as Grace Reformed Church. The building is on the south side
of the Brookville road, near the center of the village; it is a wooden building, about thirty eight by fifty four
feet, neatly furnished within, and glistening in its fresh coat of white paint, is a conspicuous object as seen
by the traveler as he crosses the brow of the hills surrounding the town. It is located in a yard of considerable
size, in which have been planted numbers of trees which promise to afford a grateful shade in the near future.
The building is equipped with a bell. This church and congregation was formerly called "Licking," and
also "St. John's." A number of Reformed families moved to this section of the country in the beginning
of the century; the Brinkers among others were here in 1802. Occasionally a Reformed minister would visit these
people and remain a short time, preaching the Gospel to them. At that time the church in the east was accustomed
to send candidates for the ministry on long missionary tours to North Carolina, Western Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
In this way the people were kept together, and had broken to them occasionally the bread of life. Rev. William____
and Rev. H. E. F. Voight are remembered by some of the most aged among the present members. There was also a Rev.
Ho_____, who remained here for over a year, and served the people in spiritual things.
The first settled minister was Rev. Henry Koch, who was pastor from 1819 to 1838. Rev. Henry Hoffman, from the
Seminary at Mercersburg, took charge of a part of the field of labor about 1845. Shortly before this young brother
reached his destination the old servant of the Lord (Mr. Koch) laid down his armor in death on the 7th of August,
1845. At the end of two years Rev. Hoffman was succeeded by Rev. L. D. Leberman. A year afterward (1849) Rev. George
Wolff was called to this field. He remained about five years. The next minister was Rev. Nicholas E. Gilds, who
began his work here in March, 1854. He remained two years. His successor was Rev. Joseph G. Shoemaker, who served
the charge eighteen years. After him came Rev. John Dotterer, July 1, 1874. Rev. John M. Evans took charge November
1, 1878, and Rev. David B. Lady, March 1, 1885. The latter is still pastor. There were organized out of material
belonging to this congregation at different times the Salem congregation at Frogtown, Jerusalem congregation at
Rimersburg, St. Luke's congregation at Squirrel Hill, and Zion's congregation at Mt. Zion, two miles northeast
The first church was of logs, erected about 1818. A brick edifice took its place in 1841. These buildings were
owned jointly by the Reformed and Lutherans. In 1873 the Reformed congregation built the present church at Curllsville,
owned and occupied by them exclusively. At this time the name was changed from St. John's to Grace. There is also
a parsonage, owned by this and the neighboring congregations served by the same pastor. This parsonage is nearly
opposite the church. It has lately been repaired. Services are held in the church every alternate Sunday. Sunday
school is held every Lord's day during nine months of the year. The membership of the congregation at present is
one hundred and twenty five.
Professional Men. - The professional men of the town are Dr. J. T. Rimer and Dr. J. A. Brown. Dr. Reichard was
for many years the physician in this town. Mr. William A. Curll at one time occupied the offices of commissioner
and associate judge of the county. William Pritner, sr., was one of the first commissioners of the county appointed
by the governor.
Hotel. - The town contains one hotel, the Sheridan House, a three storied brick edifice, erected in the days when
the road through Curllsville was more of a thoroughfare than it is now.
Anti Horsethief Association. - The Curllsville Anti Horsethief Association requires some mention. The project,
which has become so popular in this section of country, was inaugurated by Robert Thome. The Curllsville Association
was the first of its kind in the county, and is now about thirty years old. During all this time, while horses
have been stolen on all sides from persons not members of the company, the members of the company have not suffered
except in two instances. One of the animals stolen (?) was Colonel Coulter's old family horse, afflicted with all
the ailments horseflesh is heir to. This animal suddenly disappeared and search failed to reveal its whereabouts.
The insurance money was paid after quite a long time. The other animal stolen was a fine horse belonging to J.
M. Turney. It was not recovered, and the company promptly paid one hundred dollars to partly compensate for its
loss. The value of the association thus appears to be rather a preventative of thieving (as members have secured
remarkable immunity from depredation), rather than an efficient detective force in recovering stolen property.