ORIGINAL TOWNSHIPS-BOROUGHS OF ERIE, ALBION, EAST SPRINGFIELD, EDINBORO, CRANESVTLLE, ELGIN, FAIRVIEW, GIRARD,
LOCKPORT, MIDDLEBORO, MILL VILLAGE, NORTH EAST, NORTH GIRARD, UNION CITY, WATTSBURG, WATERFORD, WESEYVILLE--EARLY
SETTLERS IN THEM-THEIR FIRST MILLS, STORES, BIRTHS, MARRIAGES AND DEATHS-THEIR CHURCHES, PAPERS, CEMETERIES.
Prior to 1803, this county formed a part of sundry and various larger municipal divisions of the state. In that
year this county was organized with full county powers, privileges, and officers.
Upon its first separate organization in 1803, there were 16 townships in the county, viz: Brokenstraw, Beaver Dam,
Coniaute, Conniat, Elk Creek, Fairview, Greenfield, Harbor Creek, LeBoeuf, Mill Creek, McKean, North East, Springfield,
Union, Venango, Waterford. Of the above the first, third, fourth and fifteenth were Indian names; the second from
the works of the Beaver in that section; the fifth from the creek which was named for the herds of Elk which used
to resort thereabouts; the sixth from the "Fairview" which Captain Swan and Colonel Forstér obtained
at the mouth of Walnut Creek, which dubbed it this name; the eighth arose from an error which exchanged the names
of the creek in Erie at the "harbor" for the one eight miles east known as Mill Creek in the very early
times; the ninth a French name coined for the locality because of the herds of "Boeufs" or beeves which
they saw in the vicinity; the tenth from the same error aforesaid; the eleventh named for the second governor of
the commonwealth; the twelfth, for its "North East" location in the county, as well as in the state;
the fourteenth from the Union of Mills at that place; the sixteenth for the ford of the waters there, or as some
maintain, in honor of the memories of the settlers for Waterford, Ireland, their former residences.
Brokenstraw was changed for Concord in 1821; Amity was formed from a part of Union in 1826; Wayne was carved from
Concord in 1826; Girard was formed from Elk Creek, Fairview and Springfield in 1832; "Coniaute" was changed
to Washington in 1834, in honor of the President; Beaver Dam was changed to Greene in 1840, in honor of General
Greene; Franklin was formed out of Washington, McKean and Elkcreek in 1844; Summit came from Greene, Waterford
and McKean in 1854.
There are two cities in the county, Erie and Corry.
Boroughs: Albion, East Springfield, Edinboro, Cranesville, Elgin, Fairview, Girard, Lockport, Middleboro, Mill
Village, North East, North Girard, Union City, Wattsburg, Waterford and Wesleyville.
Erie was incorporated as a borough in 1805, having been a part of Millcreek Township up to that time; it was divided
into two wards in 1840; granted a city charter in 1851 ; divided into four wards in 1858; South Erie separated
from Milicreek as a borough in 1866, and consolidated with the City of Erie in 1870, forming the fifth and sixth
wards of the same. Additions have been made from time to time from the territory in Milicreek. The various boroughs
have been incorporated as follows: Waterford, 1833; Wattsburg, 1834; North East, 1834; Edinboro, 1840; Girard,
1846; Albion, 1861; Middelboro, 1861; Union Mills, 1863; Fairview, 1868; Mill Village, 1870; Lockport, 1870; Elgin,
1876; East Springfield, 1887; Cranesville, March 30, 1912; Wesleyville, May 31, 1912; North Girard, 1925; Corry,
1863, and granted a city charter in 1866, and has four wards. The name of Union Mills was changed to Union City
July 4, 1871.
ALBION BOROUGH.- This borough is 25 miles southwest from Erie, at the junction of the East Branch of Conneaut
Creek with Jackson's Run. It was first settled by Thomas Alexander, Patrick Kennedy, William Paine, Lyman Jackson
and Ichabod Baker. Lyman Baker's son, Michael, built the first saw-mill, but did not settle until 1815. William
Sherman came in 1827, Thomas Thornton from England settled about 1857. Others coming later were E. W. Stuntz in
1815; Dr. J. S. Skeels, 1848; Dr. P. D. Flower, 1855; Dr. L. D. Davenport, 1850; and Jeduthan Wells, 1857.
Amos King in 1828 built the first grist-mill, which was burned July 15, 1889; and Lyman Jackson taught the first
The place was known for a long time as Jackson's Cross Roads, and its post office has been called variously Jacksonville,
Joliet, and Albion. It was a station on the Erie Extension Canal, which was an inducing cause for its existence
and growth. The Denio fork and handle factory was located here and operated until burned, when it was removed to
The religious needs of the place were early cared for by the Methodist Episcopal, Congregational, Disciple, and
Catholic organizations. The M. E. Church stood about three-fourths of a mile west of the borough, was built about
1835, and was occupied until about 1855. Another class was formed and held services in the academy until 1855,
when a church was built in the town, dedicated by the honored Calvin Kingsley, and was enlarged in 1894. The Disciple
organization was effected in the spring of 1880, by Rev. Clarence J. Cushman, and erected a small frame church.
The Congregational society was formed Jan. 23, 1893. Catholic services have been conducted here from Crossingville,
usually, from a very early day.
A woolen mill was built in 1840, by W. H. Gray. It burned in 1876. Thomas Thornton rebuilt it in 1880 and operated
it. An oar factory was built here by Henry Salisbury and Reuben McLallen in 1859, was burned March 1, 1868, rebuilt
the same year by Frank Wells, and later burned again. In 1895 a lumber mill, a saw-mill, hoop-mill, and a creamery
were established. The town has two banks, a good hotel, and two newspapers, the Albion Blizzard and the News. The
Erie County Enterprise was established here by J. W. Britton and F. J. Dumars on June 15, 1877, and failed in 1880.
The Blizzard was established May 25, 1882., by E. C. Palmer and E. F. Davenport.
Albion was formed from a part of Conneaut Township and incorporated in 1861 with a population of 443 inhabitants,
and is exactly a mile square. Its first Burgess was Perry Kidder, elected March, 1861.
EAST SPRINGFIELD was organized as a borough Sept. 5, 1887, with a population of about 400. It is on the
Ridge Road, 21 miles west from Erie. It was taken from Springfield Township. An academy was built here in 1856,
and was a noted school in its day. The cemetery was originally the burial ground of the Presbyterian Church, which
was established in a log building here in 1804, a congregation organized in 1806, and a larger frame building erected
in 1844. In the northeast corner of this cemetery used to be well seen the remains of a Mound Builders' Circle
enclosing about a half-acre, one of the series of four similar ones from western Girard Township to Springfield,
those in Springfield being in the cemetery, on the Oney farm a mile southwest of East Springfield, and on the McKee
place a half-mile further west; all in a direct southwest and northeast line, with earthen banks about three feet
in height and six feet thick. A Methodist Episcopal church built its present building about 1866.
EDINBORO, 20 miles south of Erie, at the outlet of Lake Conneauttee, was formed from Washington Township,
incorporated by the act of the legislature in 1840, enclosing some 500 acres of fine land. It is two miles from
the line between Erie and Crawford Counties, and is the site of the State Normal School for the Twelfth District,
which was recognized as a normal school on Jan. 26, 1861. Professor J. A. Cooper was its first principal, who served
it well and faithfully. A Presbyterian society was organized here prior to 1810, and its building erected in 1836,
the first in the place. In 1837 or 1838, this congregation split into New and Old Schools; the New School erecting
a building in 1854, and in 1855 the Old Schodi also built. The Baptist people bought the Old School building at
the Union of the New and Old Schools. The Methodists organized about 1829, and built in 1838. Its building was
later sold for a Town House and in 1863 their new one was built. The Baptists organized a society about 1838, the
Adventists about 1863, putting up a church building in 1864.
The original cemetery plot was given for the purpose by William Culbertson and has been in use for many years.
A new one has been acquired larger than the first.
The town has had several newspapers; the Native American, the Gem, the Museum, in 1855; the Express, in 1859; the
Edinboro Independent,. February. 1880; the Conneauttee Wave, June, 1893. A Fair Association used to hold fairs
ELGIN BOROUGH was formed out of the western part of Concord Township, in the winter of 1876, comprising
about a mile square. A sawmill and a grist-mill were established on the creek at a very early day by Joseph Hall,
and the place became first known as Halltown, on the advent of the railroad it became Concord Station, and when
incorporated became Elgin. A very attractive cemetery is maintained. The Methodists organized a class near by in
1854 in a school house; in 1858 removed to Elgin School House, later to the Disciple Church. They later bought
the Presbyterian meeting house at Beaver Dam and moved it to the borough.
FAIRVIEW BOROUGH was. incorporated in 1868, with an area of a mile square and a population of about 400.
It is on the Ridge Road, 12 miles west of Erie, and its first settlers were the Sturgeons who built a small log
tavern on the bank of Trout Run by the Ridge Road, kept by William Sturgeon, who later built a better one near
by. S. C. Sturgeon built the Monitor House. A store, blacksmith shop and other village structures soon followed.
William Sturgeon bequeathed about 50 acres of land and 20 town lots to the Presbyterian Congregation, on condition
that a house of worship be built within one year, otherwise it went to other parties. The union of the two bodies
on Jan. 6, 1870, silenced the contention over the claims to the legacy, and the united congregation worshipped
as one from that day on. The Methodist Church here is the result of a class formed in the home of Justice Osborne
in 1817, its first building erected in 1836 just outside the village, the second in 1854. Mt. Nabo church, of the
Evangelical Association, originated from the visit of Rev. J. Siebert in 1833. The Evangelical Lutheran Congregation
was organized in 1856. This borough has one of the most attractive cemeteries in the county. The first burial was
that of Mrs. Milton Sturgeon.
The original Fairview was at the mouth of Walnut Creek, so named by Captain Richard Swan and Colonel Thomas Forster,
afterwards becoming known as Manchester, which name that locality still retains. The village was first called Sturgeonville,
and later incorporated as Fairview.
GIRARD BOROUGH began in the settlements there of Messrs. Wells, Clark, Laughlin and Wolverton at a very
early day. It was largely included in the farm of John Taylor who had the only building there in a small log dwelling
which was superseded when Joseph Taylor bought the place from Daniel Sayre, who had formerly bought it of John
Taylor. Mr. Joseph Taylor erected the first frame house in the present borough. The settlement known as Girard
was formerly west of the creek, and is now called West Girard. The present attractive borough did not commence
its settlement until the Erie Extension Canal was built, when a few people commenced to build by the canal, a tavern
was erected there, and soon a town site was laid out. It was incorporated in 1846, and in 1850 it was credited
with 400 people. It is the home town of the veteran, pioneer, showman and clown, Dan Rice, who made this place
his home, and also the place where his shows wintered for many years. Here a number of the pioneer shows were organized,
and from here they started out on the road, amongst them were Thayer & Noyes', Rice & Forepaugh's, Anderson
& Co.'s, Abe Henderson's, and G. R. Spalding & Co.'s circuses. It was many years widely known as a show
town. The first school house in the township was in the former Girard village, was opened in 1809, and taught by
John J. Swan, a boy of 16 years. In 1850 the Girard Academy was organized on the stock company plan, and was a
very popular school for many years, being turned over in 1862 to the local school board. It has a soldier's monument
in the square built by Dan Rice, the first one erected in the state of Pennsylvania, and perhaps in the whole country.
It was dedicated Nov. 1, 1865. In 1893 the Wilcox Library was built, the gift of Robert Wilcox to the public. It
is self supporting. Girard is 18 miles from Erie on the Ridge Road. It has a Methodist congregation, organized
in 1815, its first church building erected in 1828, and a later one in 1868. The Presbyterian society was organized
May 16, 1835, and worships in a handsome edifice built by remodeling the older one, in 1893. St. John's Catholic
congregation was organized about 1853. The Universalists organized prior to 1852, and built in 1852. St. Johannis
Evangelical Lutheran congregation organized in 1866, and bought the former M. E. building in 1869. The town has
the Cosmopolite, established in 1867, and still being published; its first newspaper having been the Free Press,
started about 1845, succeeded by the Express, which was transformed Nov. 7, 1854, into the Republican, with the
slogan, "Independent on all subjects, rabid on none". The present publication is entitled the Cosmopolite-Herald.
LOCKPORT BOROUGH started about 1840 when the canal was being built, and grew around a series of 28 locks
in that waterway, in a distance of but two miles, each having a rise of about 6½ feet to lift the boats
from the Lake Shore plain to the levels of Conneaut Creek. The village is 22 miles from Erie on the Bessemer Railroad.
Here Ezekiel Page, who had invented a way to turn the handle and the blade of an oar in a single operation, built
a factory for the purpose, four stories high and 80 by 180 feet in dimensions, which, after his failure and death,
was removed to Erie. The town was incorporated as a borough in 1870, with 1,700 acres and a population then of
about 500, and was formed out of Elk Creek Township. From the head lock at this town, the old canal had an 11-mile
level south to Spring Corners in Crawford County.
MIDDLEBORO was formed out of McKean Township in 1861, about twothirds of a mile square, on the Edinboro
Plank Road, ten miles south of Erie, and had a population in 1870 of 126. The first house in it was built by Benjamin
Cullorn in 1810. There is a Methodist society here which was organized about 1819 a half mile south of the present
borough, holding meetings in school houses until 1857 when their present fine building was put up in the town,
and enlarged in 1869. St. Francis Catholic Church was built in 1876, the successor of an earlier place of worship
two miles northwest which was dedicated in 1833.
MILL VILLAGE BOROUGH is 25 miles south and east of Erie, nearly the center of LeBoeuf Township from which
it was taken, and incorporated in 1870. Its name was derived from Mill Run which flows through it and empties into
French Creek just below the town, and which in turn derived its name from three saw-mills which had been put in
along the stream. It is on the A. & G. W. R. R., now the Erie Railroad, and is in the center of a rich grazing
country producing milk, butter and cheese. The town was projected by William Kingen, and Judge Benson surveyed
it. It has a Methodist congregation organized about 1810 at the Ford settlement on French Creek, and its first
building put up in 1850, which being burned a larger one was built in 1878. The Presbyterians were organized by
Rev. J. M. Gillett from Union Mills in 1870, and their building put ap in 1872. The Free Methodists built their
church in 1894. The Catholics hold services by priests from Union City. C. C. Wright started the Mill Village Herald
in January, 1876, and sold it to J. S. Ross in October, 1882.
NORTH EAST BOROUGH is 16 miles east of Erie, on the Buffalo Road, and a mile and a half south of the shore
of Lake Erie. The land occupied by it was purchased by a settler named Brown who sold the claim In 1804 to Mr.
Gibson from "down east". The first dwelling within its limits was a log house built by William Dundass,
on the north side of Main Street, and a little east of a streamlet crossing the street, in which was observed the
first Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, according to Protestant forms, in this county, on Sept. 27, 1801. The property
was sold to Henry Burgett in 1806, who opened a tavern at the place, and in 1808 a more commodious tavern was constructed
and operated by Lemuel Brown where the Haynes House later stood. Another tavern had been previously operated by
George Lowry, near the park. The first store is said to have been opened on Main Street at the foot of Vine in
1816, by Alexander McCloskey, and shortly, a cluster of buildings having been located about the taverns, it came
to be calfed Burgettstowrt, after the principal settler. But Mr. Gibson coming to the place, and being a man of
considerable push, in 1819 the name was changed to Gibsonyule, until the village was incorporated into a borough
Feb. 27, 1834, under the title of North East. In 1852 its borough limits were extended, and later were extended
again. Its population in 1840 was 399.
The oldest religious society in this county is believed to be the Presbyterian congregation at North East, founded
at the first sacramental occasion of the Lord's Supper in this county, on Sept. 27, 1801, at North East, by Revs.
McCurdy, Wick, Boyd and Satterfield, with a congregation of about 300 persons present. Services were held under
the trees in the open air, in peoples' homes, and elsewhere until 1804, when a log, church was:built in what is
now Oak Hill Cemetery, at North East, on a five-acre tract given by Henry Hurst. In 1818 this congregation built
a large frame church nearly in the center of the present park in the village. In 1832 58 members separated and
formed a congregation at Harborcreek. A third, a brick ëhurch, was built in 1860, and the one in the park
torn down in 1862. This third building was destroyed by the great fire in August, 1884, and a fine brick building
was erected in 1885.
The Methodists were organized in 1812 by Rev. Thomas Branch from Connecticut, and worshipped for ten years without
a building, when, in 1822, they erected a brick building on the east side of the park, close to the Presbyterian
house of worship. It was taken down in 1852 when a new one was built. The Baptists worshipped without a definite
organization until 1832 when they organized a congregation, building two miles east on the Buffalo Road in 1833.
This congregation disbanded about 1850; but another was organized in 1858, a building erected in 1859, and a school
room in 1860. Other religious societies here are, St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran, organized in 1864, its first
building put up in 1867, and replaced in 1888. The Episcopal Mission of the Holy Cross, organized about 1872, and
its building put up in 1879. St. Gregory's Catholic Church, built in 1866. The German Church of the Evangelical
Society organized in 1870, and its church dedicated Jan. 15. 1871. The Catholics have a college in the borough,
called St. Mary's College, having acquired the building erected by the Methodists and which had been a one time
popular place of instruction. The Methodists had established it and operated it as the Lake Shore Seminary. It
was dedicated as a Catholic College by Rev. Tobias Mullen, Bishop of Erie, on Aug. 2, 1881. Its aim is to fit young
men for the priesthood in a six years' course of instruction.
One of the finest high school buildings in the county is located in the borough, facing the park. The first school
was held in the old log meeting house in the present cemetery from about 1804 to 1817, when a log school house
was built not far from the center of the park. In 1824 a lot on the east side of Lake Street was bought, and a
small brick building erected for the school in which instruction was given as early as 1826. A large frame building
was put up in 1844, which in 1878 was superseded by a large brick structure, all on the site of the small brick,
Its newspapers have been, the North East Guard, in 1855; the North East Herald, in August, 1867; the Star commenced
publication Sept. 26, 1868, by Brainerd & Cushman, the interest of Mr. Brainerd being sold to L. B. Cushman
in 1869. Its name was changed to 'the Sun in March of 1873, and May 2, 1883, it absorbed the Advertiser, which
had started in March, 1877. The North East Breeze' started May 8, 1893; another North East Advertiser, Dec. 20,
1884. The town has had four destructive fires; one on Dec. 19, 1858, May 23, 1872, summer of 1874, and Aug. 13,
1884, the latter destroying the Presbyterian Church and a large portion of the business section. It was a little
North East girl who wrote Abraham Lincoln when he was a candidate for the presidency, that she could get her father
and brother to vote for him, if he would only grow a beard; as they vowed they could not vote for such a homely
looking man, and she believed that if he let his whiskers grow, he would be a good looking man. His answer to her
letter was a promise to do so, and when in, 1861 his train stopped at North East, in his address he alluded to
it and asked the little girl to come forward, which she did, and he kissed her. She was gratified to see that he
had kept his promise.
UNION CITY BOROUGH is 27 miles southeast from Erie on the P. & E. R. R., and on both sides of the South
Branch of French Creek. It was founded by the settlement of William Miles, a native of Ireland, who located here
in 1796, making a clearing, and building a storehouse at Wattsburg, where he carried on a somewhat extensive business
in furs and other merchandise. In 1800 he removed to Union, where he built a combined grist and saw-mill in 1801.
'It was burned in 1802, rebuilt in 1803, and long after burned again, having become known as Church's Mill. William
Cook and family came to Union in 1801, following Mr. Miles. The place did not develop until 1855, when H. L. Church,
A. L. Summerton and D. M. McLeod came from Warren, rebuilt the mills, sold some lots and started a store. David
Wilson, at the instance of James Miles, a son of William Miles, laid out a town site. The influence of James Miles,
who had been made a director of the P. & E. R. R., established the route of the railroad through Union City
instead of through Wattsburg. The advent of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad brought further development,
and the oil industry with some refineries located here, gave added values to the properties. Prior to Drake's discovery
of oil at Titusville, the inhabitants at Union had been in the habit of gathering the oil from the surface of the
water on the creek at Union, and several wells were later sunk here. The town is the seat of a very extensive chair
manufacturing business, several manufactories being located here. It has suffered severely from fires, one in the
morning of April 24, 1879, on Main Street; one on Monday, July 24, 1882, destroying eight buildings; one on Wednesday,
May 28, 1884; another on the afternoon of Jan. 9, 1895; and several since that time. A destructive flood visited
the town Feb. 4, 1882, another in June, 1892, the latter being the one which swept over a great part of the state.
The first successful school was opened about 1820 in a building on High Street; the first tavern was opened by
David Jones in 1829; the first store was started in 1834 by Fleming & Brewster, of Erie.
The first newspaper was the Union Mills Bulletin, started by William C. Jackson in 1865, later becoming the Star,
and finally becoming merged with the Republican at Corry. The Union City Times, established November, 1870, which
was printed in the Dispatch office in Erie for two years. This paper and the Corry Republican were moved to Erie,
becoming the Argus May 1, 1875. The Times was re-established by Mr. Persons Aug. 12, 1875. In February, 1875, L.
B. Thompson moved the Enterprise from Waterford to Union City, and in November, 1877, it was taken to Corry, and
became the Corry Herald. The Advertiser started in the summer of 1874, and suspended when the Enterprise came to
town. Early in 1879 the Record was started as a Union City circulation of the Corry Herald, and in the fall combined
with the Times.
This borough supports Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal, Catholic and United Brethren societies. The
Presbyterians organized with nine members in 1811 through the services of Rev. John Matthews. Built the first church
in 1831, the later one was dedicated Feb. 24, 1874, and a chapel given by Mrs. Jane Gray in 1879. The Methodists
were organized by Rev. Ira Eddy in 1817, Rev. John P. Bent being the first pastor; built their first house in 1847,
and the second in 1862.. The Baptist congregation was started with 11 members in August, 1859, and in 1862 Rev.
A. D. Bush became the pastor, who stimulated the erection of a church home for them. The United Brethren were organized
about 1872, building the church in 1876. Episcopal services were held here in 1866 in the old town hail, a lot
was bought in 1877, and their building consecrated by Bishop Whitehead on St. Matthews' Day, Sept. 21, 1893. The
Catholics organized about 1857 from families who had settled here in 1854. Their church was built about 1860, and
the organization is known as St. Teresa's Church, to which is attached an academy and conv~iit. Evergreen Cemetery
was originated by David Wilson who laid it out, and was its first president. It was dedicated in September, 1865,
is on the southeast edge of the town, and forms the principal place of burial for the borough and the township.
The Soldiers' Monument in it was dedicated on May 30, 1884. The Catholic Cemetery is near by, and was consecrated
WATERFORD BOROUGH had a settlement of Indians when the French came in the spring of 1753. The French arrived
from Presque Isle where they had established a fortified post that spring, and a rough trail was cut from there
through the woods to LeBoeuf on the head waters of French Creek, called by the Indians "Innungah", by
the French "LeBoeuf River", or the "Riviere aux Boeufs", from the herds of cattle (buffaloes)
roaming about. Later the main stream became the Innungah, or Weningo, developing into Venango finally; and the
outlet of the lake became LeBoeuf Creek, instead of river, as the French king was led to believe it, and the lake
likewise became LeBoeuf Lake. The French speedily established a stockade, within which they constructed a blockhouse,
and other buildings, including a small log chapel. This military post was visited on Dec. 11, 1753, by George Washington
to protest the French "invasion of the English country". A more extended description of this French fort
and its history will be found elsewhere in this work. The place was abandoned by the French in 1760, manned by
the English in 1860, attacked and destroyed by the Indians June 17, 1763. This old enclosure is said to have embraced
the land east of the present main road, and the spring below the McKay home.
After the Indian uprising under Pontiac, and the destruction of the fort at that time, the place rapidly declined
to utter desolation. No white folks visited this county, and until the troops came in May, 1794, the place was
a mere wilderness. The troops being unequal to meeting the Indian opposition here, remained at LeBoeuf until the
spring of 1795; Andrew Ellicott, who was with them, laid out a town, giving it the name of Waterford. Lots were
advertised for a sale to be held in Philadelphia, and on Aug. 3 and 4, 1796, the Harrisburg and Presque Isle Company
bought lot 11 for $15; lot 13 for $16; lot 16 for $45; lot 17 for $59; lot 168 for $20.
The first settlers under American dominion were Lieutenant Martin, the commander of the troops at the fort, who
concluded to stay; James Naylor, one of the Land Commissioners, who were here in 1794, remaining the winter and
determining to stay the following spring. Lieutenant Martin opened the first tavern, and Naylor started the first
store in the place. Captain Martin Strong came from Connecticut in 1795, and Amos Judson from New England the same
year. Mr. Judson accompanied Col. Seth Reed in a sail boat from Buffalo. In 1796, John Lytle, Robert Brotherton,
John Lennox and Thomas Skinner; in 1797, John Vincent and Wilson Smith; in 1798, Aaron Himrod and the Lattimores;
in 1801-2, Captain John Tracy, William Boyd, Sr., his son David, John and James Boyd and their three sisters, and
James Anderson; in 1804, or 1805, came James and William Benson; in 1809, Eliachim Cook came over from McKean Township;
in 1799, perhaps earlier, George W. Reed; in 1812, John Henry and Levi Strong; in 1813, the McKay family; perhaps
also others and later the immigration became greater. The salt trade was a large factor in the early business here,
and John Vincent became wealthy in it. The first death was in 1795, of John Rutledge, a boy who was wounded at
Erie where his father had been killed. He was buried just outside the fort. The first birth was John R. Black,
son of William, Aug. 8, 1795, in the fort. The second was Katharine Himrod, daughter of Aaron, in 1799. Robert
Brotherton built the first saw-mill in 1797, and in 1802, the first grist-mill, both near the station. Mr. Brotherton
also kept a tavern from 1815 to 1817, the lot later being occupied by his son's residence. The second saw-mill
was built by James Boyd on Boyd's Run west of the borough, at a very early date. George W. Reed started a tavern
on Union Street, back of the Judson Block, but it burned down. The stone hotel was built by Thomas King in 1826,
opened in 1827. On the occasion of the visit in 1825 of General Lafayette to this county, he was attended by his
son, a companion and a servant. They were entertained in the hotel of George W. Reed, which then stood just east
of the Judson Block on First Street. They arrived on June 2d, and staid in the hotel that night, proceeding to
Erie the following morning. A barn stood until recently, and is believed to be still standing, on the west side
of the Meadville Road south of the borough, which bore an inscription to the effect that it was built the year
of this visit.
Captain John Lytle, one of the pioneer settlers, became a man of considerable influence and worth in the county.
He had been the commandant at Fort Freeland on the west branch of the Susquehanna in 1779, and when that place
capitulated to the British June 30, 1779, he and William Miles, and four of the Vincent men were made prisoners,
marched through the wilderness to Niagara, and detained until peace was declared. Mrs. Lytle with her children
operated their farm with the help of a hired man, who obtained credence that Mr. Lytle had died, by circulating
letters to that effect, and Mrs. Lytle finally becoming convinced of the fact, was prevailed upon to marry the
imposter. She and her husband became reconciled on his return, and the family were the most highly esteemed of
any of the early settlers. Their son John became the originator of the Erie and Waterford Turnpike Company, and
a most prominent man in the county.
This town for many years was the principal port of entry for goods and supplies, it being at the head of water
traffic from the Ohio River, hence from Pittsburg. The iron, flour, bacon, glass and cloth came from Pittsburg
on roughly built flat boats similar to the old French Batteaux, which were poled up and down the streams. These
boats were about 15 feet in width by some 75 feet in length. Many of these boats were built at Watertord, floated
down the river and sold at Pittsburg where they were loaded with coal and sent down the Ohio to southern cities
where most of Them were broken up for firewood. The trip from Waterford to Pittsburg and return consumed about
three weeks. Keel-boats were introduced of much better construction, which were pushed by poles in the hands of
the crews, and were floated both up and down the streams. A very considerable terminal dock, with spacious warehouses,
was for years situated at the out-let of the lake, where the boats took and discharged their freight. Their trip
down was usually with loads of salt which was brought to Erie from Onondaga, N. Y., hauled with teams to Waterford,
and shipped down the streams to Pittsburg. As the depth of water determined the times for sending or receiving
boats, the trade was somewhat erratic; and many boats would be prepared, loaded, and await the rise of the streams,
when a whole flotilla would proceed upon the tide. The salt trade began about 1812, and continued until 1819. Those
great warehouses were used for years for holding religious services in, until churches were built in the village.
In the War of 1812 most of the supplies for the army and navy were freighted to Waterford over this route, and
then hauled across to Erie, where they were again shipped to the west. For this war a brigade of Pennsylvania troops
was cOllected and organized in 1812 on a plot of land near the present station.
The village was incorporated as a borough April 8, 1833, covers about 500 acres, and in 1840 had a population of
403. It is 14 miles south of Erie by the State Highway, and 19½ by railroad. For years the present business
street was nothing more than a common road leading through the woods, the principal business being along the creek,
and later expanding to First Street. The earliest school building was the customary log structure between Sixth
and Seventh Streets on Walnut, and the second one stood very nearly at the center of the Diamond.
The Waterford Academy was incorporated in 1811, the old stone building having been completed in 1822, the same
year as the Erie Academy. The first school was opened in it in 1826, and a brick addition erected about 1859. It
was perhaps the most famous and prosperous of all the schools in the county. It is still a cherished institution
of learning in the borough. The First Presbyterian Church was organized in 1809, its house of worship erected in
1834. The United Presbyterian congregation organized in October, 1812, their church started in 1835, completed
in 1888, enlarged in 1859, and in 1868, and later a chapel added. St. Peter's Episcopal congregation was started
in February, 1827, the corner stone of their building laid in the fall of 1831, the building consecrated by Bishop
Onderdonk in November, 1832, and reconstructed in the fall and winter of 1871-72. The M. E. congregation was organized
in 1835, although meetings had been occasionally held ever since 1814; Their church was built in 1854.
Its newspapers have been the Waterford Dispatch, founded by Joseph S. M. Young in 1851 or 52. It supported the
"Rippers" at Erie during the railroad war, and thus obtained a great circulation. It was removed to Erie
in 1856, and became the Dispatch which later merged with the Gazette, and still later with the Herald. B. F. H.
Lynn worked on it at Waterford, and went with it to Erie, becoming a newspaper man of distinction. Mr. Lewis brought
his Edinboro Museum over from Edinboro and disposed of it to Amos Judson who changed it to the Enquirer. On May
7, 1874, L. B. Thompson started the Enterprise, which in 1875 was moved to Union City. On Jan. 26, 1878, Dr. D.
P.. Robbins established the Waterford Astonisher, it becoming the Leader on Dec. 16th of that year under Mr. A.
F. Moses, which is still one of the leading county papers.
The town has had more than a fair share of disastrous fires. They have been the fires of March 5, 1865, destroying
the whole of the west side of High Street from Second alley to Judson's store; Dec. 31, 1873, Feb. 4, 1881, and
Feb. 22, 1883. A recent first was that of Sunday morning, March 3, 1895, consuming the buildings between First
and Second Streets on the west side of High Street. By August the owners had reconstructed the section with a much
better class of buildings, being of brick, than they had been before.
Waterford celebrated the centennial of its founding by appropriate exercises on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 1895. Another
celebration of historic significance was the great gathering which dedicated the monument to General George Washington,
erected upon the site of the old French fort which he visited as the ambassador of Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia
in 1753. This dedication took place on Aug. 30, 1922. It was erected by the Pennsylvania Historical Commission,
the people of Waterford, and friends. It stands in the center of the old stockade, and in line with the old trail
WATTSBURG BOROUGH was first settled by William Miles in 1796, building a storehouse for the purchase of
furs. It is 20 miles east of Erie on a fine concrete road. The first permanent bridge erected in this county is
said to have been built by the county over the West Branch of French Creek at this place at the persuasions of
William Miles. That same year of 1822 William Miles built a saw-mill and a grist-mill here, and also prevailed
upon Lyman Robinson at North East to move over and put up a tavern. The town was named by Mr. Miles in honor of
his father-inlaw, Mr. David Watts, of Carlisle. For many years the weekly mail was carried from Erie to Wattsburg
by a man on foot, walking the whole distance. It was incorporated as a borough in 1833, having then a population
of but little over 100.
This place organized a Presbyterian congregation in 1826, which is the logical successor of the old Middlebrook
congregation, a sketch of which will be found elsewhere. Its first building was put up about 1828, its second in
1855. This congregation was recognized by the Erie Presbytery in November, 1833, as a separate organization.
The Baptists organized their congregation here April 6, 1850. Its house of worship was built in 1851. The Methodists
were organized by Elder Knapp, a missionary here in 1820. Its first house was built in 1831, and the second in
Wattsburg has successfully maintained an active and aggressive agricultural society for many years. Its first fair
having been in the fall of 1883. The town is in the midst of a great dairying section, producing excellent cattle,
milk, butter and cheese. This has largely determined the character of its industries. The first Temperance Society
in the county was organized in Wattsburg in 1828. As a sample of the ambitions of the locality, and of the calibre
of its people, it may be mentioned that in 1832 a movement was projected for the formation of a new county with
Wattsburg as the county seat, and to be called Miles.
Wattsburg has had several newspapers, amongst them being the Chronicle, started in 1878 by W. A. Moore, published
for about one year; the Occasional, started in 1881 by R. P. Holliday, succeeded by the Sentinel, established by
Dr. S. F. Chapin in 1884.
CRANESVILLE BOROUGH was founded by Fowler Crane, a son of Elihu Crane, who settled on a tract in 1800, which
has become the site of this borough. He laid out a village, built a tavern, and established a store and "Ashery"
here at a crossroads where the Girard and Meadville Road crosses the Crane Road. It is 28 miles southwest from
Erie, on the line of the old canal. The Bessemer Railroad runs through the town. A school house stood where the
later post office site was, in very early days. The Methodist Church was erected in 1874, when the old church on
the hill south of town was removed to Springfield. This place was incorporated as a borough March 30, 1912.
WELEYVILLE BOROUGH is on the Buffalo Road four miles east of the business section of Erie; but now the limits
of the two corporations adjoin each other. It was laid out in 1828 by John Shadduck, who owned the farm thus plotted
out. He built a grist-mill here in 1823, and two years later a saw-mill, both being on the west bank of the Four-mile
Creek. Its name is in honor of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. It has a very fine hotel, an excellent school,
and paved streets. Its northern limits adjoin the General Electric Company's great manufacturing site, and this
has given the place a decided impetus. Its stores are amongst the most up-to-date in the county. Its Methodist
Church was built in 1828 by John Shadduck, and rebuilt by the congregation in 1866. The Baptists were organized
in February, 1891, as a mission of the First Baptist Church of Erie; their church was built in 1891, and dedicated
in May, 1892. In 1893 it was recognized as a regular church organization. The land for it was donated by Dr. Applebee.
The first school here was in operation as early as 1811, standing just opposite where Kelly's store used to be.
The place became incorporated as a borough on May 31, 1912.