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Townships of Erie County, Pa.
From: History of Erie County, Pennsylvania
By: John Elmer Reed
Published ByHistorical Publishing Co., Topeka - Indianapolis 1925


CHAPTER XXX
TOWNSHIPS.


ORIGINAL ORGANIZED TERRITORIES-TOWNSHIPS OF BROKENSTRAW, BEAVER DAM, CONIAUTE, CONNIAT, ELK CREEK, FAIRVIEW, GREENFIELD, HARBOR CREEK, LE BOELTF, MILL CREEK, McKEAN, NORTH EAST, SPRINGFIELD, UNION, VENANGO, WATERFORD-CHANGES IN THE TOWNSHIPS-DERIVATION OF THEIR NAMES-THEIR EARLY SETTLERS, MARRIAGES, BIRTHS AND DEATHS-CHURCHES, CEMETERIES, MILLS AND MANUFACTURING-EARLY SCHOOLS.

The territory forming this county was on April 4, 1798, erected into "Erie Township", a part of the County of Allegheny, which had been created Sept. 24, 1788. In this style it remained until March 12, 1800, when it was separately constituted as Erie County, but with Meadville as the seat of justice for some time. On April 2, 1803, this county was fully organized for all purposes, in the house of George Buehler, on the northeast corner of Third and French Streets, in the City of Erie, and since then has been a fully organized municipality.

The county had originally 16 townships, as follows: Brokenstraw, Beaver Dam, "Coniaute", "Conniat", Elk Creek, Fairview, Greenfield, Harbor Creek, "Le Boeuf", Mill Creek, McKean, North East, Springfield, Union, Venango, and Waterford.

CONNEAUT TOWNSHIP was one of the original 16, located in the extreme southwestern corner of the county, and contains 27,582 acres. Its population in 1810 was 631. The township received its name from the creek, and is an Indian word signifying "snow place", from the fact that snow used to lie longer on the ice of Conneaut Lake than anywhere else in the county. The first settler was Jonathan Spaulding, from New York in 1795. In 1797 the Pennsylvania Population Company sent their agent, Col. Dunning McNair with a corps of assistants, who established their headquarters at "Lexington" and proceeded to lay out the country into tracts, roads, etc. In 1798 came Abiathar Crane with his brother, Elihu, from Connecticut, who located near Col. McNair, both soon removing, the former to Mill Creek in 1809, the latter to Elk Creek in the spring of 1800.. In 1800 came Matthew Harrington from Vermont, George Griffey and Andrew Cole from New York, and Stephen Randall and his son Sheffield from New York; in 1801, came Robert McKee from Cumberland County, Pa., in 1802, Henry Ball from Virginia, Patrick Kennedy and his son Royal from Connecticut, William Payne from the same place, and in 1803, Marsena Keep and son of the same name from New York; in 1804, Joel Bradish and his brothers from New York; in 1806, Lymati Jackson from New York, and in 1810, his son Michael Jackson.

The first male child born was Henry Wood about 1798. The first female children were Ruth and Eliza Crane, daughters, respectively, of Elihu and Abiathar Crane who were born in the same house on the same day, April 20, 1799. The first death seems to have been that of Mrs. Thomas Alexander, in 1801. This township was traversed by the old canal, its longest level having been across it. An old graveyard at Saulsbury's Bridge contains the remains of a number of the township's early settlers, while at Keepville others were buried. Within the township are the villages of Keepville, named from Marsena Keep who settled here in 1803; Pennside, was started by John Avery Tracy about 1885; Cherry Hill, and Tracy. At the villages are to be found churches of the various denominations, and thriving schools.

AMITY TOWNSHIP was taken bodily from Union Township in 1825 and erected into a separate municipality. It is about six and three-quarters miles in length, and four and a quarter miles in breadth. It has two hamlets known as Hatch Hollow and Lake Pleasant (formerly Militown). The first saw-mill in the township is said to have been established above Militown on the stream which empties into the outlet of Lake Pleasant, and in 1822 a combined saw and grist-mill erected by Captain James Donaldson on the outlet of the lake. The first settlers were John Fagan, who cleared up a piece of land near Hatch Hollow in 1796. Mr. McGahan came about the same time. Hazen Sheppard and wife came in 1812; it is said that John Carron was the every first permanent settler, but the date of his settlement has been lost. In 1818, Benjamin Hinkston came in from Greene Township, and in 1819 came Charles Capron from New Hampshire, with Seth Shepardson and Timothy Reed. Capron brought with him his father and mother. In 1820 James McCullough and Captain James Donaldson settled, the latter near Lake Pleasant.

There are a number of family graveyards in use about the township, while a three-acre burial ground is maintained at Hatch Hollow. A Methodist Episcopal Church was organized at Hatch Hollow prior to 1835 having a frame church dedicated in 1859. Amity was named by William Miles.

CONCORD TOWNSHIP was originally a part of Brokenstraw, but in 1821 the name was changed from the old Indian title to Concord, which was suggested by William Miles, as was also Union and Amity. In 1826 the township was divided, the northern portion becoming Wayne, the southern Concord. It is the extreme southeastern township in the county, and originally contained 25,590 acres. It has been reduced by the separation of Corry Borough in 1863, in 1866 by an addition to Corry, and in 1876 by the incorporation of Elgin Borough.

Its early settlers were William Miles and William Cook, his brotherin-law, who came in June, 1795. In 1800 James and Robert McCray from Ireland, and Joseph Hall from Virginia, moved over from Beaver Dam to the site of the present Elgin. This township is peculiarly adapted to dairying, which is the chief business of the farmers.

Lovell's Station, on the Erie Railroad, consists of a few houses, besides the railroad station. Here a water mill was put up at a very early date by James Crowell. A later saw and planing mill, together with a machine shop were built, and destroyed by fire. D. J. Crowell built a saw-mill here about 1879.

Rev. John Broadhead organized a Wesleyan class here and several years later, about 1840, they built a church on the McCray farm a mile south of Lovell's Station. The Methodists dedicated their frame church building in July, 1879, soon after their society was formed. It is connected with the Spartansburg Circuit. Most of the interments of the township take place at Corry, although there is a graveyard attached to the Wesleyan Methodist Church, and on the farm formerly of A. Bowers is the old Stewart Cemetery.

ELK CREEK TOWNSHIP is one of the original 16 townships, and received its name from the creek alone which the herds of elk once roamed. Its original area was 35,840 acres which has been reduced to 20,696 acres. Its population in 1820 was 288. Its lands are generally very rolling. A mile east of Wellsburg was a fine deposit of bog iron ore, from which the old furnace of Vincent, Himrod & Co. once obtained a large share of their supply, and was subsequently utilized in making paints.

Its earliest settlers were Eli Colton, from Granby, Conn., in 1797. He was the father of George W. Colton, later of Erie. In the spring of 1798 or 1799, he was followed by George Haybarger and John Deitz, his brother-in-law, from Maryland. The families of these latter came out that fall, under the guidance of Arnestes Deitz, John's father. Mr. Haybarger removed to Milicreek in 1810, where his descendants still live. In 1800 the tract where Cranesville now stands, was taken up by Elihu Crane. Subsequent arrivals were David Randall, Daniel Akers, Mr. Odell and Mr. Harrington in 1800; David Sherrod in 1802; James McCammon and his Sons James and Robert came from' Ireland at a very early day, and about the same time a man named Wallace. Following these came Jabez Clark, Charles Scott, Maxon Randall, the Spragues and the Shields, and in 1815, Daniel Winchester, Samuel Wells with his sons Otis, Obed, Franklin, Samuel and Julius; and then followed many others whose names are still perpetuated in the county. The Mormons were' once quite numerous, in one section of the township, and observing one of their baptisms in a stream has given it the name of Mormon Run to this day. The Free-will 'Baptists, Methodists, and Universalists and other sects have organizations at Wellsburg, the Methodists at Cranesville, Free-will Baptists and Methodists at Pageville, United
Brethren between Cranesville and Lockport.

The earliest school is said to have been taught by Maxon Randall in his log cabin about a mile north of Cranesville about 1815. In 1817 Miss Becky Reese is said to have 'conducted another school in a little log house a mile and a half south of Wellsburg, she afterwards marrying William Monroe.

Wellsburg is a village, and was first settled by Samuel Wells with his five sons in 1815, where his son Franklin built a grist mill and several saw-mills at a very early day. That neighborhood was early supplied with salt by Samuel Wells, who drilled a salt well about a mile south of Wellsburg, and made a limited amount of that article.

Pageville was settled by E. Page who early established here a factory for the manufacture of oars kom the extensive white ash and oak forests which then existed in that locality.

FAIRVIEW TOWNSHIP was also one of the original townships 'in this county, and its first settlement seems to be, so far as can be ascertained, that of Francis Scott in 1797. But the real activity towards the settlement of this section arose from the organization and activities of the Harrisburg and Presque Isle Company, organized at Harrisburg July 25, 1796, by ten men putting up 200 pounds each (about $1,000) to form capital to be used in exploiting lands at and near Erie. Three of these men were Thomas Forster, Captain Richard Swan, and William Kelso, who were natives of Paxtang, and may have been some of those famous "Paxtang Boys" who so mistakenly attacked a peaceful community of Indians. This company bought a considerable amount of lots and tracts at the Carlisle sale Aug. 3 and 4, 1796, including a large section in Fairview Township. Colonel Forster, for the company, built the first grist mill in the county in 1798, and the second saw-mill in 1797, at the mouth of Walnut Creek, later called Manchester. Captain Swan brought his family here in 1802 and settled near the lake at Walnut Creek, where he rented and operated the company's mills, and a log tavern built by the company also near the mills, of peeled hemlock logs. Colonel Forster and Captain Swan, when approaching the lake, came out on the high bluff and first beheld a clear view of the expanse of blue water, when the former is said to have exclaimed, "This is the fairest view I have seen yet", and the place was named forthwith. Here in the old log tavern was held the first church services in the western part of the county, resulting in the erection about 1810 of the first church building west of Erie in this entire section.

Amongst those coming in later were, John and George Nicholson, John Kelso, Patrick Vance, Alexander, Patrick and John McKee, William Sturgeon, Jeremiah Sturgeon, and William Haggerty, in 1797; John Dempsey, in 1798; Thomas Kennedy, James Moorhead, and Thomas MeCreary, in 1800; S. F. Gudtner, William and James Arbuckle, of Maryland, and Joseph M. Kratz, a Frenchman, in 1802; Jacob Ebersole, in 1801; James Ryan, in 1805; Rev. Johnston Eaton, in 1806, all followed by John Caughey, Samuel McCreary, Moses Barnett, Arthur Oney, John Silverthorn, son of James who located in Girard. about 1801, David Russell, Samuel P. AlIen, Daniel Bear and Andrew Sturgeon.

This original township has been largely reduced by the formation of a part of Girard Township out of it in 1832. Its population in 1820 was 536.

In the early days each locality had its own small mills for grinding, sawing, and other purposes; and at the mouth of Walnut Creek and elsewhere in this township were in full operation in those early days the usual numbers of those factories. The grist-mills, saw-mills, paper mill, and woollen mills along the lower valley of Walnut Creek were amongst the first in the county. "Fuller Sam" McCreary had his fulling mill there, and Captain Swan operated the grist and saw-mills, and probably the paper mill, too. A quite extensive paper mill, in operation at the junction of the Lake Road with the depot road below Avonia was owned and operated by Samuel McCreary, who built it in 1815. The fiouring mills on the Ridge Road at the foot of Walnut Creek hill, later known as the Weigel Mills, were established by S. F. Gudtner in a very early day, and were rebuilt by Alexander Nicholson in 1856. Other woollen mills were operated at Lock Haven on the bank of the lake by the Messrs. Caughey in 1842, and who had built a saw-mill there the year before. The first school house was erected in 1804 of logs about a mile south of the mouth of Walnut Creek. The next school was taught in a building on the lands of Jeremiah Sturgeon within the present limits of the borough. Another school house was built by William Sturgeon about 1811 or 1812, and another one stood about a mile west of the home of Thomas Sturgeon, and was built about 1816 or 1817. It is said there was another school house in the southeastern part of the township at a very early day. In this township, crossing the Walnut Creek gorge, was the great wooden trestle, called the aqueduct, for the old canal. It was a great engineering feat in those days. The first bridge on the Ridge Road crossing of Walnut Creek was built by Arthur Oney, who also dug the roadway into the side of the hill there for the sum of $100.

Some of the churches in this township are: Salem Church of the Evangelical Association, which grew out of the missionary labors of Rev. J. Siebert in 1833, and was followed shortly after by the building of its church. St. Jacob's Evangelical United Church was organized in the winter of 1852, and its church was built on the Ridge Road about a mile east of Fairview at about the same time. A small cemetery is used in connection with it. An Evangelical Church southwest of Sterrettania was started in 1884. The United Brethren congregation was organized about 1857, and is situated about five miles south of Fairview, on the road from Sterrettania to Franklin Center, and its building was dedicated Feb. 22, 1880.

The Christian Church was organized by Rev. Asal Fish, its first pastor, in' 1835, and its building erected in 1845. It is three miles south of Fairview, on the road from Girarci to McKean Corners. The first church organized in this township was that by Rev. Johnston Eaton at the mouth of Walnut Creek about 1806, and its log church erected on the high bluff near by about 1810, for the Presbyterian congregation. A frame building was later erected at Swanville, and it in turn was removed to Westminster, which congregation is the logical successor and outgrowth of that first organization by the lake. Manchester was long a most thriving and bustling village, to which the stages and traveling public resorted, and where the military trainings took place; but it declined after the mills burned down, and became a thing of the past. It, however, later was somewhat revived under the name of Mayside, where picnics and parties were held for some years.

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, the youngest of our townships, was made up of portions from Elk Creek, Washington and McKean Townships in 1844, and named in honor of Benjamin Franklin. It is exactly five miles square, and its population in 1850 was 686. Its only village is Franklin Center. Its earliest settlers were L. D. Rouse in 1829, William and Levi Francis in 1832 with James P. Silverthorn, Henry Howard, and Messrs. Goodban and Longley from England, the same year. Following these were William Vorse, Allen Mead, Ezra Milks and his son Amos, Curtis Cole and his father, Andrew Proudfit, Isaac Fry, and John Tuckey in 1834; John Loyer in 1835, Levi Howard in 1840, James B. Robinson and Levi Silverthorn in 1844, the year the township was created. This territory is essentially a dairying section, although no finer location could be found for raising apples, the soil and the high, clear air affording almost perfect fruit in form, size and flavor. The first school house was in Franklin Center about 1840, where the present building stands.

The Methodists have a class here organized in 1866; the German Lutherans a congregation organized in 1871; the Eureka M. E. class was organized in 1867, and its building erected in 1869. The Catholics attend services at Cussewago, in Crawford County. The principal burial place in the township is at the Dawley school house, or Francis; burials are, however, largely made from this township in Edinboro, Sterrettania, Fairview, and Girard.

Franklin Center was laid out, or founded, by Oren G. Wood, who, with John Tuckey and John Loyer, owned the land thereabouts. Mr. Wood started a store, and shortly others settled about the store. The Howard stone quarry south of the center, on Falls Run, is one of the most important stone quarries in the county, having a rather thick stratum of fine, hard sandstone, from which excellent stone have been taken for 60 or 70 years, perhaps longer. The square flagging for the Erie Court House floors were obtained here. Small quantities of oil have been seeping from the rocks about the quarry for years, formerly being gathered and used as a medicine; but it has not been found in paying quantities.

GIRARD TOWNSHIP was formed in 1832 out of portions of Fairview, Springfield and Elk Creek, and named in honor of Stephen Girard, the Philadelphia philanthropist, who held a great body of land close by in Conneaut Township. Its population in 1840 was 2,060. Its 'early settlers were William Silverthorn and his son Captain Abraham Silverthorn, who came in from Fayette County in 1798; Robert Brown at the mouth of Elk Creek in 1799, removing to Weigleville in 1804; Robert Porter, Isaac Miller and John Kelley in 1800; Jacob Coffman in 1801, and Patrick Ward about the same time settled on the Lake Road; William and Samuel McClelland and William Crane from Ireland in 1802; John Miller from Fayette County in 1802; George Kelley in 1803; Joel Bradish and his brothers from New York, and James Blair from York County, in 1804; Martin Taylor in 1813; William Webber in 1814; Cornelius Haggerty in 1815; Samuel Jenner and his son Peach from Vermont, Justus Osborne and his son Philip, Abner Boder, Scott Keith and wife, in 1816; Elijah Drury in 1817; Ethan Loveridge and Nathan Sherman in 1818; and these were succeeded later by many other people, of substantial worth. The first 'births were those of John R. Ward, and a daughter of Robert Brown who later married George A. Eliot, of Erie.

This township has a curious and interesting natural curiosity known as the "Devil's Backbone", and another known as "The Devil's Nose", both on the stream called Little Elk, a few miles south of Girard Borough., The former being a double-sided cliff formed by the stream taking a long sweep to the east and around the point of the cliff, returning tO within a few feet of where it diverged, howbeit some ten or more feet The cliff thus enclosed is very nariow, is several hundred feet in length, and upon its top used to be a foot path in common use by the inhabitants; but which is now so narrow, shelving and irregular as to be too dangerous for use, excepting by the most adventurous. The mouth of this creek, at the, lake, has been a place much desired for a harbor from time to time by various projects including the lake terminal for the Erie Extension Canal, which caused a strenuous effort to secure it. Several hundred acres about it has recently been acquired by the United States Steel Corporation, but no move has been made for its development as yet.

A grist-mill is said to have been established on Spring Run as early as 1799 by Mr. Silverthorn. Peter Wolverton is said to have built the first mill in the township, in what is now West Girard, in 1814.

An ancient earth work was formerly to be seen southwest of the borough, being one of four similar ones extending southwestwardly through East Springfield towards Ohio, each being a circular earthern bank enclosing about an acre or so, with appertures at regular intervals.

The cemetery at Girard is the common burial place for the township, but a number of small burial grounds are situated in the township. On Jan. 7, 1815, the Methodists organized a class at Fair Haven, in the southwest part of the township in the home of Mr. Webber, which was reorganized in 1860, and its building put up in 1861. In 1840 they organized another at Fairplane on the Lake Road, and its building was erected in 1841. The United Brethren, on the State Road near the Elk Creek Township line were organized in 1870. The Christian Church have a congregation and building on the Population Road on the line between Girard and Franklin townships.

The village of Miles Grove, on the railroad a mile north of Girard, has been re-christened in late years as North Girard, and is now planning to be incorporated as a borough. That will likely be accomplished by the time this work is published. It takes its name originally from the family of Judge Miles, who owned about 1,600 acres in the vicinity, having a fine brick mansion on the Lake Road at its crossing of Elk Creek. The town has an Episcopal, a Presbyterian and a Methodist church, as well as a handsome school building. Here have been operated for years the Otsego Fork Mills, Novelty Works, Ideal Foundry, and other works. It is a thriving little town. Judge Miles instigated the founding of the settlement, and Austin H. Seeley donated the ground for the depot and laid out the twon

GREENE TOWNSHIP was one of the original sixteen townships, and known as Beaver Darn until 1840, when it changed the name in honor of General Nathaniel Greene of Revolutionary fame. Its boundaries have been twice changed, once by adding a portion of McKean Township, and later by the formation of Summit Township. In 1820 it boasted 140 inhabitants. Its earliest settlers were Peter Himebaugh and Conrad Wineman in 1800, who settled along LeBoeuf Creek; in 1802, Jacob and Samuel Brown, Thomas Bunnell, and John and Ambrose Coover in the LeBoeuf valley; Thomas Hinton and his five sons and two daughters in the spring of 1802 in the northeast portion followed by other Welsh settlers with the Joneses, Knoyles, Morgans, Wilkins and others. Weeds Corners was settled in 1828 by William Weed and William Yaple. From New England came the family of Cyril Drown, Martin Hayes and sons, Isaac and David Church, Benjamin Gunnison, Roger Root, David Edwards and S. T. Rockwood, between 1816 and 1818. The Germans started to come in about 1833, and the Irish about 1836. The Welsh settlement came to be known as Wales, where is a thriving Presbyterian church and beautiful cemetery, the congregation having been organized by Rev. G. W. Cleaveland in 1849, and its building erected in 1851. The Methodists organized a class here about 1850. On the Plank Road the Catholics organized a church called St. Boniface in a German settlement in 1857, and erected a building the same year; a separation taking place between the English speaking and the German speaking members, another church was built and known as St. Peter's, which was later removed to Kuhl's Hill, and in connection with it a graveyard was laid out. A graveyard is also attached to St. Boniface church. St. Paul's United Lutheran and Presbyterian Church was located at Bogus Corners where a building was erected in 1857 and rebuilt in 1885. The Methodists have a church at West Greene, organized in 1827, and the church built in 1848, and a new one erected in the autumn of 1883.

GREENFIELD TOWNSHIP was one of the original sixteen townships, with a strip taken off in 1841 and added to North East. In 1820 its population was 281. The second highest point in this county is said to be in this township on the former Brown farm, and is about a half mile northeast from the highest point in the county, over in Venango Township.

Its first settlers were Judah Colt, the agent for the Pennsylvania Population Company, who settled here in 1797, and his home became "Colt's Station," but he was preceded in settlement by his brothersin-law, Enoch and Elisha Marvin. Other early settlers were Cyrus Robinson, Henry and Dyer Loomis, Charles Allen, Joseph Berry, John and William Wilson, James Moore, Joseph Webster, Philo Barker, Timothy Tuttle, Silas and William Smith, Joseph Shadduck, John Daggett and John Andrews, most of them from New England. Mr. Colt cut the first road in the county-after the old French Road-from his residence here to the lake, the northern terminus becoming known as Freeport. The first settlement at Colt's Station was made in the belief that the higher lands were preferable to the densely wooded, low and moist lands along the lake shore. Some of the settlers soon discovered their error, and a few moved to other locations. Colonel Joseph Selden established a store at Colt's Station in 1820, in which Morrow B. Lowry clerked when a boy. A tavern was also opened there, and continued for some 60 years. The first military company organized in the county was in Greenfield in 1801, with Elisha Marvin as its captain. The first celebration of Independence Day in this county was held near Colt's Station on July 4, 1797. The first sawmill in the township was built at or near "Little Hope" by Lev erett Bissell in 1799, and another in 1824 by John Whiteside in the south part of the township.

The first Protestant religious services held in the county were at Colt's Station on July 2, 1797, with about 30 persons present, who listened to the reading of one of Dr. Blair's sermons by Judah Colt. The first church building for Protestant services in the county was erected in Greenfield Township, the site known as Middlebrook just north of Lowville, in August, 1801. The old graveyard just east of Colt's Station, on the Erie and Mayville road, is the earliest (1801) Protestant burial place in the county, of which record has been made. At Greenfield village, known as "Little Hope," was the settlement made by Leverett Bissell about 1796, where he had taken up a soldier's right of 400 acres and built a sawmill on French Creek. To this place came the old fashioned batteaux from Pittsburg, and unloaded at the landing on the creek.

The Methodists organized a class in 1836, and built their house in 1850. The Free Will Baptists organized in 1881 and at once built their church. The United Brethren were organized about 1875, and built their church in the Walling neighborhood about 1893, holding services in the school houses until then. A school was held in a log house at Colt's Station during the winter of 1820-21. The first marriage in the township was that of Joseph Shadduck and Betsy Willard, and their son Ira was the first birth in the township. This Mr. Shadduck built the first frame barn in the township about 1815. There used to be a huddle of cabins a mile or so north of Colt's Station, which was called "Log City."

HARBORCREEK TOWNSHIP is one of the original sixteen townships in the county, its first location, known as "Rees' Reserve," having been taken up by Thomas Rees in 1796. The first actual settlers were William Saltsman, Amasa Prindle, and Andrew Elliott in 1797; Hugh McCann and Alexander Brewster in 1800; Thomas Moorhead, John Riblet and sons, John, Christian and Jacob Ebersole as well as the Backus family about 1801; Benjamin and Ezekiel Chambers in 1802; Dr. Ira Sherwin in 1825. Sarah Prindle was the first female child born in the township, in 1799, and William Clark, born in 1801, was the first male' birth.

Neely's Mill was established near the mouth of the Twelve Mile Creek in 1802 by Captain Daniel Dobbins and James Foulk, later coming into the hands of Joseph Neely, and did a thriving business until 1841, when his son-in-law General John W. McLane operated it until the Civil War. It was operated by various people after that, and was dismantled a few years since. The wheat was ground here for the first boat load of flour sent through the Erie Canal, being hauled to the mouth of the creek and loaded onto canal barges off the shore. William Saltsman built a saw mill in 1815, adding a grist mill in 1826, sold to William Cooper, Sr., in 1839, and rebuilt in 1850, being situated on the Four Mile Creek near the foot of its gully out of the hills.

The Presbyterian congregation at Harborcreek was organized May 26, 1832, with 58 members from the North East Church. The Methodists at the same place built in 1873 on land donated by Rev. Noah Sullivan and the church was dedicated on December 11 of that year. It has been abandoned and the building removed. The South Harborcreek M. E. Church was organized at an early day, and a building put up about 1841; a few years since the church was destroyed by fire and a fine new one was immediately erected. The United Brethren were organized in the Clark Neighborhood in 1856, and put up a building the same year.

Very early a school was held in Robert Hurst's barn near Moorheadvile, and on Colonel Moorhead's farm a half mile east of Hurst's a log school house was built, and shortly after another was built on the Buffalo Road on the farm of William Wilson north of the L. S. & M. S. R. R.

The township was greatly interested in the operation of the railroads, and participated in the activities known as the railroad war which led to so much bitter feeling here and in Erie.

LeBOEUF TOWNSHIP is one of the original sixteen townships, taking its name from LeBoeuf Creek. Captain Robert King located 400 acres in 1794 at the Ford Bridge, and returned for his family, with whom he arrived in the spring of 1795, finding William and Thomas Black established on the tract next east of his. It is said that William Black's son, John R., was the first white child born in Erie County, being on Aug. 29, 1795. In 1797 Francis Isherwooci with his son and daughter arrived, also James, Robert and Adam Pollock. William Mallory came in 1801, and John Clemens, James Biggers and Philip Gregory in 1802. French Creek traverses the northern and west-central parts of the township, its Indian name having been Innungah, or Toranadakon, which, under French efforts at pronunciation became Weningo, Weenango, and Venango. Some of the early mills were the Burger gristmill on French Creek, Waterhouse's saw mill, Troup's saw mill, Wheeler's saw and feed mill and cheese factory.

"The Society of the United Brethren for Propagating the Gospel among the Heathen," had done the public a great service by maintaining missionaries amongst the Indians, and in recognition of that service, the state granted them, by the Act of April 17, 1791, two large tracts of land, the one in this township of 2,875 acres which they named "Good Luck" tract, and one in Conneaut and Springfield townships of 2,797 acres which they termed "Hospitality" tract. In common report these are known as the "Moravian Tracts." The Academy tract of 500 acres at the mouth of LeBoeuf Creek was set apart by the state for the benefit of Waterford Academy, and the land sold in 1840.

The Methodists organized a society at Edenville about 1839, and built the church at that place in 1855. The Manross Church was built in 1869 by John W. Manross for use of all religious bodies, but has been mainly used by the Methodists. The United Brethren grew from a revival held in the New Ireland neighborhood in 1876, erecting a building in 1877, which was dedicated Jan. 6, 1878. The earliest school seems to have been held in a building about two and a half miles north of Millvillage, in the Ford neighborhood, which was standing in 1820.

McKEAN TOWNSHIP was also one of the original 16 townships, reduced in 1820 by losing a piece to Waterford, and in 1844 another piece to Franklin. The Old State Line ran a little north of the center of this township, and almost exactly through the center of Middleboro.

Its first settlers were James Talmadge from Genesee County, N. Y., in 1795, locating in what has become known as the Dunn neighborhood, who brought with him the first bushel of wheat sown in this county; Thomas and Oliver Dunn in the fall of 1797; Lemuel Stancliff in 1799; Benjamin Grubb, from Lancaster County, in 1800; Benjamin Grant in the same year; Robert Sterrett in 1804; James Aubrey in 1806. Joseph Weldon was the first male child born in the township, and Hannah Talmadge was the first female born there, both about 1798. The first sawmill in the township was put up by James Sterrett on Elk Creek in 1810, the second by Oliver Dunn in 1812. The South Hill M. E. Church was dedicated Dec. 9, 1880, on land donated by Oren Reed. The Union Church at Sterrettania was built in 1842, jointly by the Methodists and Presbyterians and later used by all denominations. The United Brethren built a church at Branchville about 1865.

MILLCREEK TOWNSHIP was one of the original 16 townships, and named from the stream emptying into Presque Isle Harbor. It has lost several portions by additions made from time to time to the City of Erie. The original surveys were made in 1795 by George Moore under the direction of Thomas Rees, the first State Surveyor in the county. In laying out the land in this township, the state reserved a tract surrounding the townsite of Erie, starting about the head of the bay, south three miles and then east eight miles and down to the lake, known as the Erie Reserve lots. Later the surveyors for the Pennsylvania Population Company started at the same place by the lake and ran south three miles, east eight miles, and then north to the lake and plotted all outside of that line; but through an error in the calculation of the needle's bearings, and also an error in chaining, there remained "The Gore," a considerable strip of land between the two surveys, that was left out of both of them.

Its early settlers included Colonel Seth Reed, David McNair, George Moore, Captain Russell Bissell, David Dewey, James Baird, Francis Randall, J. W. Russell, and Thomas P. Miller, who selected their locations in 1795, and moving upon them in 1796, when they were joined by Captain John Grubb and his bride; Benjamin Russell, Anthony Saltsman, and John McFarland. William Saltsman, John Nicholson, the McKees, Jacob Weis, and Bo Bladen, a colored man, came in 1797. Joseph Henderson came in 1798 and in 1800 came William Bell, David, Samuel, William and Joseph F. McCreary from Lancaster County, and James Wilson, John M. Warren and John Cosper from New York. The first male child born in this township is believed to have been David M. Dewey, Dec. 15, 1797, and the first female child was Matilda Reed, born Nov. 14, 1798.

The Westminster Presbyterian Church on the Ridge Road was organized by Rev. Johnston Eaton in 1806, at the mouth of Walnut Creek, probably in the tavern of Captain Richard Swan, a rough log building put up about 1810 near by, and in 1833, a substantial frame church erected where the present Swanville school house stands. This was removed in 1851 to the site of the present fine brick structure, which was built during the pastorate of Dr. George Booth, and dedicated Nov. 30, 1895. It was originally called the Fairview Church, the name being changed to that of Westminster in 1861. Asbury M. E. was organized in 1846, the church built the same year, and remodeled in 1894. It has a fine community cemetery in connection with it.

The Belle Valley Presbyterian was. organized the second Monday of December, 1841, with 38 members, who came from the First Presbyterian Church of Erie. They worshipped in the school house where the organization took place, until 1843 -when their frame building was erected with a seating capacity for 300. It was dedicated Jan. 6, 1843. St. Paul's German Lutheran Church, on the hill in the southwest part of the township was organized quite early and its building erected about 1837, being overhauled in 1873. It has a cemetery in connection with the lot. One of the first schools was opened about 1805 in the southeastern part of the township, and about the same time another was opened in the Love Neighborhood. Both were well maintained until the state instituted the common school system. School was conducted in the Seth Reed residence at Kearsarge in 1809. This township was the first in the county to adopt the one term school system, which was about 1863. Through this township was' very early opened the highway from west to east, along which soon sprang up numerous taverns and hostels for the accommodation of travelers and drovers. The Half-Way House west of Erie is perhaps the sole survivor of those interesting old places. It is interesting to note that the old Ridge Road lay some ten or more rods south of its present location between the site of the old Alms House and Westminster.

The Weis Library, a unique institution of its kind, is in the western part of this township. It was established under the will of John Weis for a purely public use, and is in charge of Messrs. R. B. Gill, John A. Hinkle, and Clyde H. Waidley, as trustees. It is freely used by the community, and has about 3,000 volumes on its shelves. The devise directs that it shall be for the free use and benefit of any and all residents of Fairview township and borough, McKean township and so much of Mill Creek as compromises the election district of West Mill Creek (then all of the township west of the Edinboro Road), without distinction of race, color, creed or sex. It provided that the testamentary trustees should buy two acres of land, build and equip a suitable library building thereon to contain a library room, a hail for literary and scientific use, and such other apartments. as may be deemed proper by said trustees, "which building and ground shall not exceed in cost $5,000"; the balance of the fund to be kept at interest upon real estate, the interest only to be used in maintaining and in the upkeep of the institution.

NORTH EAST TOWNSHIP was one of the original 16 townships, denyits name from its position in the extreme northeastern part of Pennsylvania, as well as being the northeastern township in the county. It was enlarged in 1841 by a strip from Greenfield. It is, perhaps, the most adapted to fruit culture of any of the county sections, or at least its land owners have developed fruit growing in this township far ahead of the other townships, grapes, plums, peaches and cherries being the staples.

The first settlers seem to have been Joseph Shadduck from Vermont who took up a tract in 1794, joined shortly by George and Henry Hurst from New Jersey; but, although they all made their locations, they did not actually settle until 1795. Following these came George Lowry in 1795; his mother, Margaret Lowry with her family in 1796, locating 2,800 acres; Mrs. Lowry's four sons, Robert, Andrew, George and Morrow, married four daughters of James Barr, and Hon. Morrow B. Lowry, of Erie, was her grandson; James and Bailey Donaldson came in 1795, and Henry and Dyer Loomis in 1796; Thomas Robinson, Joseph McCord, James McMahan, William Wilson, James Duncan, Francis Brawley, Abraham and Arnold Custard in 1797; Thomas Crawford with his Sons, William, James and Robert, Lemuel Brown, Matthew Taylor, William Alison, Henry Burgett, and James, John and Matthew Greer in 1797-98; Robert Hampson, wife and one child, came from Juniata County in the summer of 1800.

The first church organized in the county was in this township in the house of William Dundass, on the north side of Main Street in the borhoug of North East, immediately east of the stream that crosses the street where the old parsonage used to be, and where, the same day was celebrated the first occasion of The Lord's Supper, under Protestant forms, in this county. The house was later converted into Burgett's tavern. This congregation built its log church in what is now the cemetery in 1804, a large frame church in the present park in 18 18-22, a brick edifice in 1860 and dedicated in 1861, later burned and at once replaced by another handsome brick structure.

The first brick house in the county, outside of Erie at least, was built by James Silliman in 1809, about a mile east of the borough. The first grist mill in the township was built by Timothy Tuttle on the Sixteen Mile Creek in 1807. The first house built for school purposes was in 1798 "on the north side of the main road near the house belonging to the Brookins farm." The first regular passenger train to pass through the township was January 8, 1852, from State Line to Erie. A paper mill was established by Steele, Judd & Easton in 1833 in "Paper Mill Hollow" on the Sixteen Mile Creek, burned in 1838, rebuilt by John Scouller and Chauncey Easton, burned Aug. 16, 1881, rebuilt by James S. Johnston, acquired by Cochran & Young of Erie, eventually failing and going out of existence.

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP was also one of the original 16 townships, with an extension of its southern boundary in 1835 to the present boundary creek. Its early settlers included Captain Samuel Holliday in 1796, locating 700 acres at the mouth of Crooked Creek where he built a cabin. Following him came John Devore, John Mershon, William McIntyre and Patrick Ager. Captain Holliday married in Franklin County in April, 1797, bringing his bride here to his new cabin that spring. Oliver Cross and Thomas and Oliver Dunn came in 1797, the two latter removing to McKean Township. Nicholas Lebarger in 1798; Matthias Brindle and Mr. Bruce in 1800; Robert McKee and Oliver Smith in 1801. The first white female child was Elizabeth Holliday, born May 14, 1798. The first boy born here was Joseph Brindle March 1, 1800, and the first funeral is said to have been of Mrs. Isaac Miller, whose grave was the first in the old Presbyterian graveyard. The first potatoes planted in this township were brought by Mr. McIntyre, carrying them in a sack on his back all the way from Pittsburg. In 1802 Robert McKee bought a barrel of salt for fifty Spanish dollars.

The Moravian Grant of 2,797 acres was partly in this township. The first mill owner in the township was Captain Holliday who built a saw mill near the mouth of Crooked Creek in 1801 or 1802 and a grist mill in 1803. Andrew Cochran built what later were called the Strong Mills about 1820. In 1832 Scott Keith opened a public house in East Springfield, which was burned after many years of service; William Doty moved to East Springfield in 1822 from North East, and took over the old Remington Stand, operating it until his death in 1864. Many taverns and public houses were put up and operated here, and all along the old drove road now the Ridge Road, from the Ohio line to the line of New York, and they all did a thriving business.

The first Methodist services held in this county are said to have been in the dwelling of John Mershon in this township, in September, 1800. They put up a building about 1804 about a mile south of West Springfield. A second Methodist society was organized in the east part of the then township in 1815, later known as the Fair Haven Church, but on the erection of Girard Township was taken into that municipality. The Cottage Church a mile west of West Springfield was commenced in 1830, finished in 1836; at West Springfield a building was put up in 1854, and another in East Springfield in 1866.

The Presbyterians established a preaching point in Springfield in 1804, and a small log church was built the same year on the old portion of the cemetery grounds. The congregation was organized in 1806, and a larger building erected in 1844. The Christian Church was organized in 1826, its church erected in 1839. The Baptists were organized in 1826, their church put up in 1833, and a later and better one in West Springfield in 1858. The Universalists organized in West Springfield in 1848, built a house in 1850 which was destroyed by fire Oct. 2, 1889, since when they have been practically disbanded.

The Academy in West Springfield was founded in 1855, burned down in December, 1859, and at once reconstructed with brick. The Academy at East Springfield was built in 1856. Both were excellent schools and enjoyed a wide popularity. In 1866 an academy was established at North Springfield. One of the first schools was built of logs, with chimney of sticks and stones, on the old Eagley farm. In 1918 an old log, school house was still standing in East Springfield. The principal burying ground in the township is the cemetery at East Springfield. It consists of 18 acres on the north side of the village, was originally the Presbyterian Church burial place, and was surveyed and graded in 1864. The first interment was the body of Henry Keith in August, 1864. In the northeast part of the cemetery could still be traced (at least a few years ago) one of a series of four earth works which extended from western Girard Township to the southern part of Springfield Township. Other works of the Mound-builders were, one on the Oney farm a mile southwest of East Springfield, and another on the McKee farm half a mile farther west.

SUMMIT TOWNSHIP is the youngest township in the county, and the smallest of them all. It was erected in 1854 out of the west part of Greene, the east part of McKean and a slice from Waterford. Its name arises from the dividing ridge of land running through it, which divides the water sheds of the Great Lakes from that of the Ohio River basin.

The first settler was George W. Reed, a son of Colonel Seth Reed, who settled here in 1796, removing shortly after to Waterford where he made his residence until his death. Oliver Dunn followed him, and later, 1800, James and Ebenezer Graham with their families, Eli Webster, and Abijah Hull. In 1801 came Eli Rockwell, and in 1802 Daniel Lee. Following these were Thomas Rees, Jr., John Way, P. S. Wooley and James Jackson.

The Hamlin M. E. Church was organized in 1837, its building erected in 1852. The United Presbyterian Church is at Five Points, organized in January 1842, re-established in 1873, its church erected in 1848. St. Matthew's Catholic Church was erected in 1876, and its congregation organized about the same time. Emanuel's Church of the Evangelical Association was organized about 1838, its church put up in 1863.

UNION TOWNSHIP was one of the original 16 townships in the county, and embraced much more territory than at present. In 1825 it lost the territory which composes Amity, reducing it nearly a half. Its first settler was Hugh Wilson from the north of Ireland, who arrived in the early part of 1797, followed, the next year by Andrew Thompson with his wife and four children, Matthew Gray with his wife and son Francis B., and Robert Smith. In 1798 came Jacob Sheppard, and then came John Wilson, Hugh's father with two adult daughters. John Fagan came in about this time, but removed to Milicreek in 1803. William Miles with his family moved from Concord in 1800, and his brother-inlaw, William Cook and his Tamily came in 1801.

John Wilson was the first death in June of 1799. The first birth was of Martha Wilson daughter of Hugh, on Aug. 18, 1800. The first marriage in the township, as well as the first in the southern part of the county, was that of Elizabeth Wilson to William Smith in 1799; while the second was of Thomas King and Sarah Wilson in 1800, these ladies being the daughters of John Wilson. Hugh Wilson was one of the first justices of the peace in the county.

The Methodists organized the Asbury congregation in 1840, and built their church in 1862, which has a graveyard attached to the church. The Wesleyan M. E. church was organized Nov. 18, 1882, and a church at Cottage Hill was built in 1883, and dedicated that November. One of the earliest schools in the township was taught by William Craig during the war of 1812.

VENANGO TOWNSHIP was one of the original 16 townships in the county, its name being derived from the name of the river as christened by the French, they striving thus to express the Indian word Innungah, which soon became Weningo, and then Venango. It lies in the Erie Triangle, its south line being a part of the old State Line.

It is believed that William Miles and David Watts were the first white men to visit the township, when they came out in 1785 as surveyors; and returning in 1795 located 1,400 acres at the junction of the east and west branches of French Creek. Adam Reed came in 1796, who, with his son James, located 400 acres on the east branch, and a little later built the first grist mill in the township. Thomas Smith came the same year to Lowville, followed by Zalmon Tracy and Mr. Burrell. John and David Phillips took up 1,100 acres where Phillipsville is now, in 1797, and William Allison in 1798, came with his wife and son James to Lake Pleasant. Samuel Low with his brother-in-law, Dr. Wright, came in 1822 from Genesee County, N. Y. The Norcross and Davison families located west of the lake, later changed to Milicreek, as did John Warren who moved to Erie in 1810.

Robert Allison was the first white childto be born in the township, born in 1799, the son of William Allison. The first death was of Adam Reed in 1805.

Lake Pleasant lies in the extreme southwestern corner of the township, and is a most beautiful body of 'water from five to fifty feet in depth. It is about two-thirds of a mile long, and a third of a mile wide, and at one time was urged as the place from which to draw the supply for the City of Erie.

In this township was built the first church building for Protestant worship in the county. It was a mile and a half north of Lowville on the Wattsburg and North East Road, on the top of a sightly hill. The services out of which it grew were held in August of 1801 in the woods on the east branch of French Creek on the Enos Mann farm. On the next Thursday all the able-bodied men and boys met, agreed upon a place which had been offered for a building site by John Warren, a young farmer of the neighborhood, and by night a sturdy log church had. been put up, which stood for a time when it was replaced by a larger and better log structure on the same site. Here grew up a burial ground which remains to this day. About 1828, when the Wattsburg Presbyterian Church had been built, services were discontinued here, most of the members going to Wattsburg. A replica of this old building was made from its old timbers, and was lately bequeathed to the Erie Public Museum by Laura G. Sanford, where it may be examined. The Lowville M. E. congregation was organized in 1875, its house built in 1876. The Phillipsyule M. E. class was organized prior to 1848, and its building erected in 1862 on land presented by Norman Chapin. The Macedonia M. E. congregation built its church in 1890. The United Brethren organized in 1871 and built at the head of the lake in 1872; also another congregation established a church building about 1890 half a mile north of Wick's Corners. The Advents built at Lowville in 1893.

It is of record that John Phillips, of this township, was Paymaster General in the War of 1812 under General Harrison, and received his money at Pittsburg, in silver, with which to pay off the army; and carried it through the wilderness to Fort Meigs on pack horses.

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, as it is now bounded, with other territory, was one of the immortal 16 original townships of this county when the, county came into being. Its first name, however, was "Conneauttee," a too similar name to that of "Coniaute" another original one, and in 1834 this name was changed to the present title, to avoid confusion. As it will be suspected, the name is in honor of the first president. In 1844 a large piece was taken in forming Franklin Township, and later another was taken off and added to Waterford.

Its earlier settlers included Alexander Hamilton and William Culbertson, who came in 1796 and selected lands at the site of the present Edinboro and in the spring were joined by Job Reeder, Samuel Galloway, John and James Campbell, Mathias Sipps, Simeon Dunn, John McWilliams, Phineas McLenathan, Matthew Hamilton, James, John, Andrew and Samuel Culbertson the widow Jane Campbell with two sons and a daughter Hannah. William Culbertson soon took up the tract at the foot of the lake, and built the first house in Edinboro, as well as the first sawmill and the first grist smill on Conneauttee Creek. This earliest dwelling was on the site where later stood the Vunk house in Edinboro.

The first marriage was of Job Reeder and Nancy Campbell, March 1, 1800; the first death that of Mrs. William Culbertson in 1804; the first female born was Jane Culbertson in 1799, and the first male birth that of John Augustus Culbertson in 1800.

The Baptists organized during the winter of 1838-9 and their church erected at McLane in 1866, and dedicated Jan. 23, 1867. The Methodists at McLane were organized in 1863, and the church built in 1867. The Christian Church at McLalleln's Corners was organized in 1828, and a building erected many years ago. The Christian Church at Drake's Mills was organized in January, 1877, and a church built about the same time. The cemetery at Edinboro is the general burial place for the entire township, and is a very pretty piece of parking.

The first school in the township was west of Conneauttee Creek and known as the old Plank Schoolhouse. In 1819 a class was held in Isaac Taylor's cabin a mile and a half southeast of the town.

WATERFORD TOWNSHIP was also one of the original 16, and was probably named in deference to the wishes of some of the settlers who came from Waterford in Ireland. Here at the outlet of the lake was a considerable Indian settlement, with its plum orchards and burial places. Here came the French in 1753 and built. Fort LeBoeuf, naming it and the lake and the stream for the herds of "Boeuffs" or beeves they saw in this locality, no doubt buffaloes, which are said to have roamed freely in that vicinity in those days. To this township also came George Washington on Dec. 11, 1753, to protest the French invasion of English territory. Here came Pontiac's braves and destroyed the fort in 1763. Here visited General Lafayette in 1825 and staid the night in the hotel of Mr. Reed.

The early settlers were essentially those who settled the borough. They included Lieutenant Charles Martin, commander of the post, James Naylor, one of the Commissioners of Sales, Captain Martin Strong, Amos Judson, prior to 1796. John Lytle in 1796, also Robert Brotherton, John Lennox and Thomas Skinner; John Vincent, Wilson Smith in 1797; Aaron Himrod and the Lattimores in 1798; Captain John Tracy, William Boyd, David Boyd, John and James Boyd with their three' sisters and James Anderson in 1801-2; James and William Benson in 1804 or 5; Eliachim Cook in 1809. George W. Reed had come in by 1799, and Levi Strong and John Henry in 1812; the MeKays in 1813; and following these many of the antecedents of our foremost families.

A Freewill Baptist congregation was organized at Newman's Bridge about 1832-3, reorganized in 1853, and erected a church in 1860. Another of the same denomination built a church in 1877 in the northeastern part of the township. At Sharp's Corners the M. E. congregation was organized in 1838 or 1839, and its church built in 1868. The Christian Congregation at Oak Hill was organized in 1854, and its church built in 1861. The Roman Catholics organized and built a church at the station in 1878.

WAYNE TOWNSHIP is the north portion of the original "Brokenstraw" Township, which was the original name until changed in 1821 to Concord, which continued until 1826 when Wayne was set off by itself, and named for the famous Indian fighter, General Anthony Wayne, who died at Erie. In 1863 Corry was taken from it as a borough, and in 1866 additional lands when Corry became a city. Its early settlers included William Smith, from the North of Ireland, and Michael Hare, Rihue and Call; Mr. Prosser in 1797; Joseph Hall at Beaver Dam, William CarsQn and John Kincaide, William Gray, Joseph Grant, Daniel Yeager, Zaccheus Greeley; Benjamin and Leonard Greeley, John Heath, and others. It was here that the father, mother and brother and sister of Horace Greeley established their home tree. Horace visited them twice, walking most of the way from Vermont, and in 1830, finding employment in Jamestown remained, coming later to Erie.

On the Elgin Road is situated the Western Fish Hatchery of the State of Pennsylvania, started as a private enterprise in the fall of 1878 by Seth Weeks, and bought by the State Commissioners in 1876. It is one of the most successful, and most interesting institutions of its kind in the state.

A little northwest of the hatchery, on a slight rise of ground, could formerly be seen a pre-historic embankment; and about half a mile west another consisting of a trench and circular embankment enclosing about three acres, about a third larger than the first one above.

The M. E. Church was organized in 1838 and a church erected in 1839, at Beaver Dam, and at the same place the United Presbyterians organized in 1859 and built in 1872. An Associate Reformed congregation was organized here about 1820, soon becoming a Presbyterian congregation which built in 1830 on the cemetery site, and a larger and better building was erected in 1867. This building was removed to Elgin, and used by the Methodists. Just north of Beaver Dam the United Brethren organized in 1830, and built the same year. Beaver Dam used to be a most active "Station" on the Abolitionist's "Underground Railway," many slaves having found comfort and abetting here.

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