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


This township was erected by a decree of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Clearfield County, dated April 3rd, 1836, and was named in honor of the Hon. Robert Morris. a distinguished patriot of the Revolutionary War.

The township is bounded on the north by Graham Township, on the east by Cooper Township, arid part of the dividing line between Centre and Clearfield Counties, on the south by Decatur Township and on the west by Boggs Township.

The Township contains fine coal deposits and many well cultivated farms. The population, according to the census of 1910, was 4994.

Morris township as laid out by the viewers was perhaps as irregular in conformation as any in the county, and at the same time it was numbered among the larger in superficial area. It extended from a point opposite and west of Philipsburg on the south, to the West Branch on the north, a mean distance of something like thirteen miles, and while it has no parallel sides, its average width was about six or seven miles. This, of course, is an estimate of its area before any of its territory was taken for the formation of other townships. The West Branch River formed the north, and the Moshannon the east boundary. Having such extensive water boundary, of course Morris township was well cut by smaller streams tributary to the larger ones named above. Among these tributary to the Susquehanna were Big Run, Wilhelm Run, Alder Run, Rolling Stone Run, and Basin Run. Those that discharged their waters into the Moshannon ware Crawford Run, Weber Run, Moravian and Little Moravian Runs (neither, however, being the stream that is correctly so named), Grass Flat Run, Brown's Run, Big Run, Hawk Run, and Emigh Run. It will be seen that some of these names correspond with names of other streams in other townships, which is due to the fact that many of these names were applied at a more recent date by persons not thoroughly acquainted with the county.

In the year next succeeding that in which Morris township was erected (1837), James Allport made an enumeration of the taxable inhabitants, the enumeration or assessment roll containing the following names: James Allport, Robert Ardery, Henry Beams, Abraham Brown, John Brown, David Cooper, John Coonroci. William Dillon, George R. Dillon, Joseph Denny, Samuel Davison, David Dale, William Everhart, Martin Flegal, Valentine Flegal, David Flegal, Samuel C. Hall, George Hoover, Thomas Hancock, Vincent Holt, Nicholas Heister, John Hoover, William M. Hunter, John W. Irvin, Leonard Kyler, Jacob Wise, William Shimmel. George Shimmel, Sr., Philip Shimmel, Jacob F. Runk, John Ready, Christian Roubly. John Roubly, John Beams, Jacob, Beams, Jonas Bumbarger, Henry Bumbarger, Jacob Gearhart, Valentine Gearhart, David Gearhart, Peter Gearhart, John L. Gearhart, David Gray, Peter Gray, Jeremiah Hoover, Samuel Hoover, Evans Hunter, Reuben Hunter, Abraham Kyler, John B. Kyler, Henry Lorain, John Merryman, Joseph Morrison, Jacob Pierce, William Ricord, Joseph Senser, Frederick Senser, Moses Thompson, Samuel C. Thompson, Samuel Waring. The total amount of the assessment for the year 1837, as shown by the roll made by Mr. Allport, was $14,318.

In the year 1861, nearly twenty-five years after the above enrollment was made, John Rayhorn became the assessor of the township, and as such made a list of the persons residents of the township, who were subject to militia duty, the names being as follows: John Will, George Kehner, Michael Leibatt, Daniel Beams, Joseph Fulmer, Christian Hartle, Robert Rosenhoover, John Miller, John Weaver, Adam Knobb, John Stipple, William McKee, David Wagoner, G. L. Clapland, George Steincarichner, John Wait, Jacob May, John Steer, John Keen, Vincent Flegal, Miles Pelton, W. E. Williams, George Wise, John Troy, William Rothrock, David Shimmel, Harry Gleason, Elwood Dehaven, Reuben Wait, Peter Munce, C. P. Wilder, Leonard Kyler, David Kyler, Zachariah Jones, David Cramer, Jesse Beams, George D. Hess, Daniel Zones, John Hoover.

It is observed from the foregoing roll that there was a strong element of German settlers that came to the vicinity subsequent to the erection and prior to the year 1861. This locality was, before this growth, largely populated with Germans, or descendants from German parents. They were, and always have been a thrifty, energetic and progressive class of people, and make admirable citizens.

Amongst the first settlers of the township was Captain Jacob Wise, who located in the southern part, cleared up a farm, and also carried on blacksmithing. The "Captain," as he was always called, was endowed with quite a military spirit, and figured conspicuously in military gatherings in his day, and many a good joke that came from him was enjoyed by his many friends. He lived to a good old age and his death was much lamented by his many friends and neighbors. He reared a large family of children.

Another of the old citizens of the township was Samuel C. Thompson, who located near to Captain Wise's, and cleared up a fine farm. He raised a large family. Being a man of good education and fine judgment, he was elected justice of the peace, and served in that capacity for fifteen years. His land being underlaid with a vein of excellent bituminous coal, he opened up the bed and supplied the home demand with coal; the only coal that could be used for blacksmithing in the whole neighborhood for many years. He was also elected to the office of county commissioner, and filled it with credit to himself and the township. He subsequently sold his farm and timber land and removed to near Hublersburg, Centre county. The land belonging to Captain Wise was sold to D. W. Holt & Co., who opened up the coal, commenced and carried on a very successful business for a number of years. Then they sold to R. B. Wigton & Co., who enlarged and increased the business. Mr. Holt was formerly a citizen of Bradford township, this county, but as an enterprising lumberman, came to this township and purchased a part of the pine timber known as the Allport timber. After the second year's operation in square timber, he built a large steam saw-mill and engaged in the manufacturing of sawed lumber for a few years. He married Miss Catharine Allport. Some time later he purchased the Captain Wise property, and commenced operating in the coal business, and was the first to ship coal from Morris township. Shortly after he purchased a valuable property in Philipsburg, and extended his coal and lumber operations in different parts of the neighborhood very extensively, being one of the foremost among the enterprising men in this vicinity.

Another prominent citizen of old Morris township was James Allport, who contributed a great amount to the good of the citizens, and also to the general public. William Hunter, likewise, a very good citizen and kind neighbor, was among the pioneers of Morris township, as were also David Dale, George R. Dillen, and John W. Irvin.

We should also mention John Hoover, Sr., a worthy and respected citizen, who came to Morris township from Union county at an early day. He raised a large and industrious family, the sons of whom were, or perhaps stili are among the people of Cooper township (a part of Morris), which derived its name from David Cooper, one of the first settlers of that part of Morris township known at Cooper Settlement, and a stalwart pioneer who crossed the Allegheny Mountains to make his home in Clearfield county.

The sons of John Hoover, Sr., helped to clear up a farm near to the village of Allport, and then passed on northward in Morris township to what is known as Hickory Bottom Settlement, where they purchased for themselves land in the woods, and by industry and sobriety, and fair dealing became the owners of excellent farms.

Among those who settled in that part of the township known as "Cooper Settlement," was Leonard Kyler, Sr., who, with David Cooper, settled at or near Kylertown, where each of them opened for themselves large and productive farms, part of which were later sold off in town lots. Leonard Kyler's family consisted of two sons and three daughters. The sons were John B. and Thomas Kyler, the latter being the founder of the village of Kylertown. John B. Kyler became the son-in-law of David Cooper, and purchased the Cooper farm. He divided a part of it into lots, which form a considerable part of the village site. John B. Kyler lived on the Cooper homestead, and reared a large family. He survived his wife several years, and died about 1883, much lamented by his many friends, as he was a kind and generous neighbor and a consistent member of the Presbyterian Church.

Another of the old and worthy citizens of Morris township was Abraham Kyler, familiarly called "Uncle. Abraham." He was uncle of John B. and Thomas Kyler. He located, at an early day, in the southern end of the township. He was for many years a successful farmer, an honest and upright man, and died an earnest member of the Presbyterian Church.

Among the prominent citizens of Kylertown was James Thompson, eldest son of Samuel C. Thompson. His parents came from Centre county to Morris township in 1830. He lived with his father until he arrived at manhood, and while at home received a good common school education. He taught school for a number of years then worked at the carpenter's trade. After that he was employed as clerk by Joseph C. Brenner, at the village of Morrisdale, in this township, where Mr. Brenner carried on the mercantile business for a number of years. He also started a branch store at Kylertown, and James Thompson took charge of the store and carried on the business for a time. Mr. Brenner closed his business in Kylertown and moved to Williamsport, where he engaged in the lumber business. From there he removed to Philadelphia, where he went into the notion business, and died in 1886.

E. C. Brenner, the eldest son of Joseph C. Brenner, was a citizen of Kylertown for over twenty years. He removed here to settle the business of his father. He was appointed postmaster at Kylertown during the administration of Abraham Lincoln, but, being a Republican in politics, was removed, and succeeded by Peter Moyer, Democrat, under the administration of Grover Cleveland. E. C. Brenner was one of the best and most obliging postmasters that there was in the county; the loss of him as postmaster, and his estimable family, on his removal to Philadelphia, was much regretted. He was elected justice of the peace, and served in that office over two years. He made an upright and impartial officer, and was much respected by the general public.

Another of the old citizens of Morris, now Cooper township, was James Hughes, who lived one half mile east of Kylertown. He came to this vicinity in 1841 or '42, and married a daughter of David Cooper, rearing a family of four children. After his wife died he married Mrs. Sarah J. Hall, a widow of Lancaster county, Pa., who, as well as her husband, had a family of children. Mr. Hughes was one of the early settlers who helped the old and noted surveyor, Joseph Quay, in surveying this and adjoining townships.

In the year 1843, Frederick Neabel, a prominent German, came to the Cooper Settlement, bought land and commenced clearing up a farm, lumbering in the winter. He made the first timber road to the Susquehanna River, at a point known as the Big Basin, to which place he hauled his square timber to be rafted and run to market. He lived and died a prominent member of the Catholic Church, and was greatly lamented by a large circle of friends.

Jacob Raymond, Sr., was an old pioneer of the German settlement, who came here in 1844, bought land and settled near the Catholic Church, of which he was a member. He raised a large family of sons and daughters.

Amongst the other old settlers of the German Settlement may be mentioned the names of Joseph and Michael Steindechner, Michael Rader, Christian Hartle, and Robert Rasenhoover.

In 1839 there were but four school-houses in Morris-one in the southern end, which was built on the farm of Abraham Kyler, and was used for a church as well as for school purposes; one at Old Morrisdale, now known as Allport one on the farm of John Brown, also occasionally used for church or religious meetings; one in the German Settlement, known at that time as Cooper Settlement. These houses were built before the common school system came into operation, and could be used in common for school and religious purposes also. As the township became more thickly settled, and when the free school system became adopted it became necessary to have more schoolhouses and at the present time the educational interests of the township are well cared for.

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