History of Burnside, Clearfield County, Pa.
From: Clearfield County, Pennsylvania and Representative Citizens
By: Roland D. Swoope, Jr.
Published By Richmond-Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago

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This township was erected by a decree of court May 4th, 1835, and the township was named Burnside in honor of Hon. Thomas Burnside, the President Judge of the Courts of this county and the other counties then composing the Fourth Judicial District. The township is situated in the extreme southwestern corner of the county. It is bounded on the north by Bell Township, on the east by Chest Township, on the south by part of the dividing line between Cambria and Clearfield counties and on the west by part of the dividing line between Indiana and Clearfield counties. The principal occupation of the people of this township is agriculture.

The population, according to the census of 1910, was 1435.

The whole extent of this township was once covered with many varieties of timber—pine and hemlock, together with oak, chestnut, sugar maple, ash, beech and cherry, About 1827 the early settlers commenced to hew and run rafts of pine timber to market at Marietta, below Harrisburg. In later years it was cut into saw-logs and driven to the booms at Lock Haven and Williamsport, where it was manufactured.

The first settler was James Gallaher, who came in 1816, when Burnside was part; of Beccaria township. He held the office of justice of the peace and was legal authority for all the neighborhood for many years. He was a tall active man and retained his faculties to a great age. He died in 1854 aged ninetyfive. Caleb Bailey came about 1820 and made a small improvement and patented about 400 acres of land two miles east of Burnside. He removed in 1826 to Union township. He died about 1886.

George Atchison, it is said, settled on the river bank above Burnside, in 1820, when there was no neighbor nearer than New Washing ton. He was born in County Roscommon, Ireland, about 1792, and came to this country to avoid prosecution for poaching under the oppressive game laws of his native land. He was a man of strong character, who did much to mould public opinion in the community in which he had cast his lot. He was a strong anti-slavery man and one of the conductors of the “Underground Railroad.” He left the Methodist church and united with the Wesleyan Methodists, because he would not recognize the fellowship of slave holders. He died at Cherry Tree after the Civil war. Among later settlers were Samuel McKeehan, John Byers with Sons Lemuel, John, Samuel and George, with daughter Helen, who married John Mahaffey; Jacob Lee, who came from Center county in 1822, whose house was an early preaching place for the Methodists; Hugh Riddle, a native of County Down, Ireland, who came to America in 1798, at the time of the Irish Rebellion, and who married Rebecca Lee; David Fulton, from Center county, who settled in 1823 along the river, below the upper Burnside bridge (he was a tailor by trade and died in 1874 aged 87 years); John Westover, John Rorabaugh, David Mitchell, Joseph Hutton (1826), John King, Jacob Neff (1828), Christopher and Henry Neff and others.

The first preaching in the township was in Mr. Gallaher’s cabin, in 1822, by Rev. John Bowen, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church. Members of the Evangelical church held meetings at an early day at the home of the Breths—Henry Adam and Peter—who came from Alsace, Germany. Camp meetings were held by this society for many years after An account of the boroughs of Burnside and New Washington will be found in the succeeding chapter of this volume.

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