History of Union Township, Clearfield County, 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 December Term 1848. It is bounded on the north by parts of Sandy and Huston Townships, on the east by Pine Township, on the South by Bloom Township and on the west by parts of Brady and Sandy Townships.

Although a large part of this township is not suitable for agriculture, yet in the northern part of the township are many farms well cultivated, and very productive. The population of the township according to the census of 1910 was 785.

The main stream of the township is Anderson Creek. Its source is in Huston, on the north, from whence it flows a generally south course, entirely across Union, enters Bloom, then bears to the east by south into Pike, and discharges its waters into the Susquehanna River, at the borough of Curwensvilie. Anderson Creek is a stream of considerable size. The runs auxiliary to the creek, and emptying into the same from the east, are Montgomery Run and Blanchard Run, each of which lay almost wholly within the township. On the west and having its entire course within the township, is Dressier Run, so named for the DressIer family, who were pioneers in this locality, and one of the most respected of the early settlers. The stream known as Sandy Creek also has its head-waters in the western part of Union township, from which it flows a north and west course into Brady, thence across that township and into Jefferson county on the west. Sandy, although of less size than Anderson Creek, has been nearly as prominent as the latter, during the period of extensive lumber operations, for which both of these streams have been so noted.

The settlers who were possessed of sufficient hardihood and determination to attempt an improvement in this remote locality at an early day, were indeed scarce, and, in fact, no such attempt was made until the river and bottom lands were well-nigh taken up. The only possible inducement, even after the first quarter century of the county’s history had been made, was the presence of Anderson’s Creek, and its course through the township. This was then parts of Brady and Pike townships. Across the line in Brady there were a few straggling settlers, but generally, the country was a heavily wooded district with hardly sufficient opening for the erection of a cabin.

Caleb Bailey was born in Lycoming county in the year 1797, and came with his father to this county about the year 1809. After having resided in the upper part of the county for about eighteen years, he moved to lands that were, in 1848, erected into Union township, the line being especially run so as to include the Bailey farm within the new township.

Another of the pioneer settlers in this region was John Laborde, a native of Lancaster county. He came to this county in the early part of the year 1828, and located in Brady township, but two years later moved to a point a short distance from Rockton village, where he made an improvement. His brother, David Laborde, lived nearly a mile west of this. They were the first settlers in the vicinity. Both had large families. The children of John Laborde were John, Peter, Jacob, David, Christopher, Folly, who married Henry Lininger; Peggy, Barbara, who married George Doney; and Betsey, who married Lewis Doney. The early life in the township was attended with great privations and dangers, and the Laborde’s seem to have had their full share of each. There was no store nearer than Curwensville, and no mill nearer than Pennville. The country at times seemed full of panthers and other dangerous animals, and various members of the family occasionally came in contact with them.

John Hollopeter came soon after and commenced an improvement on the line of the pike leading to Luthersburg and west of Rockton. Matthias Hollopeter, brother of John, came to the county a year later and took up his residence with John. He soon began an irnprovement, and by hard and steady work made a good farm.

In the year 1839 John Brubaker came to the county and commenced an improvement on lands which he yet occupies about half a mile north of Rockton village. Mr. Brubaker was a native of Muffin county, now Juniata county, and was born in the year 1810. In his family were nine children, viz.: Mary, Fanny, Daniel, Susan, Sarah, John, Joseph, Reuben and Jacob. About the year 1840 Mr. Brubaker built a still-house that the product of his farm might be utilized. This he was compelled to do as grain was then a drug in the market, and the merchants at Clearfield would not receive it in exchange for goods. About 1843 or he commenced drawing shingles and boards to Clearfield town from a small mill he had built on Sandy Creek. This proceeding was looked upon by his neighbors as a piece of folly, but when they saw the good results of it, numerous other saw-mills were soon afterward erected, and lumbering became a leading pursuit, and agriculture was proportionately neglected.

About this time, or possibly a little earlier, Jacob Burns came to the region. He built a cabin and commenced an improvement in the DressIer neighborhood. He remained here but a short time when he sold out to Dressler, and moved over on Anderson Creek, where he built a cabin and made a clearing, the first in that section. This was about a mile above the old mills at Lower Rockton. Burns soon found another opportunity to sell to good advantage, which he did, and moved still further east in the township, which was then a part of Pike.

John Dressler, who is mentioned as having succeeded Jacob Burns, was born in Union county, and came to Clearfield county in the year 1841. The farm lie occupied is now reckoned among the best in the county. At the time he purchased it there was no settlement nearer than three miles. The Dresslers have been among the most thrifty and enterprising people of the township. John Dressler died in 1856. He had a large family consisting of twelve children, seven daughters and five sons. David Dressier, his son, was the first justice of the peace elected in the township after its organization.

Henry Whitehead was a native of England and came to this country nearly a half century ago. He took lands on the turnpike leading from Clearfield to Luthersburg, on the east side of Anderson Creek. By hard work and energy he made a fine farm, one of the best in the eastern part of the township.

The Welty family came into Union township in the year 1855, from Brady, where they settled in 1832, and was among the pioneers in the region north of Luthersburg. David Welty was the head of this family. He was born in Centre county in 1807. His first purchase in this township comprised about one hundred and sixty-five acres of land, but by subsequent purchases he acquired a tract of about five hundred acres.

Incidental mention has been made of the fact that John Brubaker built a small saw and shingle-mill on Sandy Creek about the year 1843, from which he hauled the first lumber and shingles to Clearfield, and there found a market. Within the short period of eight or ten years thereafter, other mills were built by David Horn, Joseph Lyons, John Dressier, John Hollopeter and Philip Laborde. The other early mills were owned by Samuel Arnold and one Munn, the latter living at the mouth of Little Anderson Creek.

At an early day and something like fifty years ago, Jason Kirk and Jeremiah Moore, two substantial residents of Penn township, came to the waters of Anderson Creek at the point now known as Lower Rockton, where they built a mill. The land hereabouts, to the extent of fifty acres, was given them for a mill—site, on condition that they make the improvements. Here was built a saw-mill, and subsequently a grist-mill. A store was established here many years ago.

There stood at Lower Rockton an old building that was formerly occupied as a woolenmill, the property of William F. Johnson, of Pennviile. The saw and grist-mills, and other property at this point were owned by Joseph Seiler and sons, who became proprietors thereof in the year 1877. Upper Rockton was started through the efforts of John Brubaker. and others engaged in lumbering. A steampower feed-mill, owned and operated by Jason E. and David W. Kirk was built during the year 1885.

The first school in the township stood near this place. It was built prior to 1839, a log structure with a board roof. Some years later it was replaced with a more substantial and modern building.

An enrollment of the taxable inhabitants of Union township, made by R. W. Moore, assessor, in the year 1851, showed the following list of residents and landowners for that year, who were of the age of twenty-one years and upwards: Josiah Boomel, Jacob Burns, Peter H. Booze, Caleb Bailey, Daniel Brubaker, Robert Britton, Henry Baily, John Brubaker, Joseph Cuttle, John Clowser, George Clowser, John Cunningham, Nicholas Doney, Lewis Doney, George Doney, David Dupler, Franklin Dutry, John Dupler, Sr., John Dupler, Jr., Enos Doney, Isaac Graham, Jacob Gilnett. John Haze, David Horn, Jr., Matthias Hollopeter, Elias Horn, Jr., Samuel Horn, Jr., John Hare, John Hollopeter, Jr., Samuel Hare, Frederick Hollopeter, Jr., David Irwin, John Kritzer, John Kiesigle, Hugh Krise, Jacob Laborde, John Laborde, Sr., Luther & Carlisle, Joseph Longacre, Peter Laborde, Philip Laborde, David Laborde, Jr., Henry Lininger, John Laborde, Jr., David Laborde, Sr., Peter Laborde, Jr., Abram Laborde, Christian Laborde, Nathan Lines, John Long, Moore & Whitehead, Samuel Miles, R. Moore, Jr., Moore & Kirk, John Nelson, Jr., John Potter, Jr., John Potter, Sr., John Pawley, Daniel Pawley, Henry Shull, William Shull, Alexander Schofield, Shaw & Lines, Joseph Schofield, Henry Whitehead, Jonas Weller, John H. Reed and Samuel East.

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