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

Free Trial - Ancestry.com World Deluxe Membership


This township was organized in 1839 and is bounded on the north by part of the dividing line between Elk and Clearfield counties, on the east by part of Lawrence township, on the south by Pine township and part of Union township, on the west by Sandy township and part of the dividing line between Elk and Clearfield counties.

The township has some valuable coal deposits which are now being worked, and also contains a number of well cultivated farms. The population of the township, according to the census of 1910, was 2,653.

The township has some valuable coal deposits which are now being worked, and also contains a number of well cultivated farms. The population of the township, according to the census of 1910, was 2,653.

Topographically speaking, Huston township lies in the Bennett's Branch watershed, forming a beautiful and fertile valley, eight hundred feet lower than the towering mountains guarding on either side. Bennett's Branch (creek), a tributary of Sinnamahoning, flows through the entire length of the township from west to east.

The first settlement was made, according to the best authority, in 1812. Of the original settlers, John S. Brockway located where Schofield's Hotel now stands, Jesse Wilson where Franklin Hewitt now lives, and G. R. Hoyt where L. Bird's house now stands. Some time after J. S. Brockway sold to Jesse Wilson, and moved further north near where Brockwayville (Jefferson county) now stands. Other persons then settled above and below Penfield. Among these was Ebenezer Hewitt, father of John and Thomas Hewitt.

The early settlers depended upon the forest to supply their meat, and johnnycake was the legal tender everywhere. Making shingles was about the only means the people had to raise money. These were hauled to Clearfield and sold.

Religious Services.- Religious services began almost with the settlement. Neither were the educational interests neglected, for a schoolhouse was built at an early date near where the iron bridge crosses Bennett s Branch (Penfield). The first blacksmith shop was built in 1842 by E. D. Patterson. There was no important business done until the arrival of Hiram Woodward in 1854, who bought the interest of Wilson & Hoyt and began lumbering. Some one had tried to "float" unpeeled logs a few years previous, but utterly failed. When Mr. Woodward informed them of the number he intended to "drive," to express it in a more modern term, the people were greatly astonished, and, influenced by some "up-and-down" saw-mill proprietors, declared it utterly impossible, and threats were made on all sides against the undertaking; but nothing daunted, Mr. Woodward went on. The logs were put in and the people were forced to believe the truth. From that time forth lumbering has been the principal business of Huston township.

Old "Uncle Billy" Long, the great hunter, lived many years in this township. P. P. Bliss, the Gospel singer, was born in this township when it yet belonged to Elk county. L. Bird came in 1869, engaged in the real estate business and surveying, prospered, owning considerable real estate in Penfield and vicinity.

Penfield is a beautiful little town, having a population at the present writing of Over 700. The beginning of the village dates from the settlement of Huston township.

Winterburn is next in importance as a town in the township, is situated three miles south. west of Penfield, and ten miles east of du Bois; it is surrounded on all sides by hills, which afford wild and romantic scenery. Prior to 1873 it was a vast wilderness, but in 1873 the railroad was built and with it .the high trestle, which was named the "South Fork Trestle," after the small stream running through at this point. In the winter of 1873 Mr. George Craig named it Winterburn.

About this time Craig & Blanchard, who had been in co-partnership, dissolved by mutual consent and divided the timber tract, the small stream (South Fork) forming the boundary. In 1874 James Barton, foreman for Craig & Son, commenced clearing the land on the left bank of the stream, and getting it ready for building. The mill was built, and in operation by May, 1875.

Blanchard's mill, on the opposite bank, was begun in the fall of 1874, and commenced running the following July (1875). His planing-mill was not built until 1879.

A schoolhouse was built in 1876, and the first teacher was Alice E. Bird, of Penfield, but previous to this Mr. A. H. Rosenkrans had taught a select school.

A Methodist Episcopal church was organized in 1878 by Rev. A. B. Hooven, and a Presbyterian church in May, 1882, by Rev. J. V. Bell.

In the fall of 1881 Messrs. McKinstry and Clearwater started a tanning plant in Penfleld, near the station, but sold to Thomas E. Proctor before it was in running order; he completed and stocked it in 1882. Its capacity was three hundred hides per day, between seven thousand and eight thousand cords of bark being consumed annually.

Hiram Woodward in 1854 built an old "flutter" saw-mill, which he supplemented in 1870 with a steam saw-mill. In the fall of 1882 Hoover, Hughs & Co. commenced their large mill on Wilson Run, one mile from Penfield, which they had in running order in April, 1883.

In 1856 there were only three schools in Huston township. Teachers received from $12 to $15 per month of twenty-four days, and had to "board around." There seems to have been some "crookedness," as a member of the school-board, at about this time, burned the record and vouchers, to prevent investigation as to the disbursement of money received from the county treasurer, on unseated lands. But later on the management of schools passed into different hands, and began to prosper, and the educational interests of the township have since been in a healthy condition.

Return to [ Clairfield County ] [ PA History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ]

.Blind Counter