BARNETT TOWNSHIP juts out to the border of Jefferson country between Elk and Clarion. Millstone creek
flows through the northwest corner, and, apart from this, the eastern half of the township boasts of only a few
rivulets. The western half is a region of small rivers. Maple creek heads up south of Marienville, but assumes
some pretensions in the northwest corner of this township, whence it flows south to Clarington, where it enters
the Clarion river, receiving Ruling's run and a few rivulets in its course. Paralleling it on the west are Coleman
and Troutman runs, each the drainer of beautiful valleys. At Redclyffe the elevation is 1,615 feet high enough
to warrant the existence of coal; but up to 1884 little or nothing was done toward developing its deposits. Sandstone
is found here, as in other sections. In 1889 the oil fever reached this township, when experienced oil men were
sincere in their opinions that petroleum existed in commercial quantities.
The population in 1880, including 88 inhabitants in Cooksburg, was 615. In 1888 there were 105 Republicans, 79
Democrats, and 1 Prohibitionist recorded as voting, or a total of 185, representing a population of 925.
The township officers chosen for 1890, are as follows: Constable and collector, J. B. Campbell; treasurer, Jacob
Mays; clerk, J. E. Cosgrove; road commissioner, E. A. Kuhn; judge of election, Wm. Grossman; overseer of the poor,
A. Cook; auditor, James Gray; school directors, Clarence Pratt and R. W. Brenneman.
The owners of personal property in Barnett township, in 1852, were John Agnew, J. M. Adams, William and W. A. Arthurs,
Alphonzo Vaubiot, W. Armstrong, W. Andrews, Isaac Attlebarge; T. Anderson (carpenter), Anderson (mason), George
Agnew, Thady Armstrong, William Allen, Jacob Braden, Arch. Black, Oran Butterfield, D. Burk, James Brandon, John
Brandon, Jesse Burchfield, Horace Byham, Robert Black, James Black, John Blacklock, Daniel Black, Daniel Berlin,
Daniel, John, Jr., William, Andrew, Jeremiah, George, David and John Cook, Simon and William Chapman, W. R. and
James Coon, Samuel Consanus, Adam Cupler, A. Coventry, E. Cline, C. Smith, Patrick Kearney, Wm. and Ed. Collins,
Alex. Craig, R. Custard, James II., Jeptha, Henry and W. R. Daniels, Elijah Davis, W. M. Davis, John Dodge, J.
Donaldson, Joseph Dunlap, Hiram Drake, John C. Davis, R. H. and William Downey, Y. Eshelman, John Fitzgerald, E.
Forsyth, Jesse Ferry, Sam Fulton, James Forest, John Grant, Milton Gibbs, John Gordon, W. L. Gould, John Houston,
W. P. Hutcheson, Nelson Haight, Robert Ruling, William Hayden, Lewis Herring and son, Joseph Herring, John Hasley,
Peter Hasley, Sol. Hallman, Peter Hicks, William Hottell, Squire Horton, Stephen Hill, A. Jeffries, James Irwin,
John Irwin, Chas. C. and Henry Johnson, Christian Kuntz, John and Peter Knight, Phil. Keller (blacksmith), Thomas
Kerr, William Kerr, John Kellogue, F. Kennedy, Sam. Long, James Law, A. Lucas, Noble Lucas, D. Motherell, Dave
Munn, John Andrew, William and Thomas B. Maze, Henry Moody, Jr., John Moore, John McNaughton, Tom McKay (tailor),
Sam. Mitchell, Moses McCallum, Alex. Murray, David Munn, Jr., Joseph Martin, John McNeil, R. Moodie, Pascal Moodie,
John McMichael (millwright), W P. Miller, John McKenney, H. Mimm, William Martin, A. McCutcheon, Sylvester Nolton,
John Nolton, George Neely, J. C. Nolton, Asa Nichols, James Phipps, George Painter, G. W. Pratt, Sedate Porter,
A. J. Platt, Dave Powell, Dan. Poff, J. R. Reynolds, James Rogers, Joseph and William Reynolds, Grove Reed, Rets
& Co., Rust & Co., Amos Richards, the Ralstons (3), Ellis Russell, William Roberts, Eli and Amos Smith
(carpenters), Shippen, Morrison & Co., John Snyder, W. J. Spence, D. Stowe & Co., John Spafford, Jonah
Slocum, R. Smith, George Swarm, W. Stewart, William Shields, A: Strominger, James Truby, William Titus, Dan. Titus,
David K. Torney (one watch), Oramill Thing, W. H. Thompson, Elihu Wing, Homer Wing, Charles Wing, Joseph Wallace,
Dan. Wolford, Robert Wallace, Dan. Whitman, Jo. Wagoner, James Wallace, Lenni Weaver (cabinet maker), Sam N. Warren,
James Wing, Benj. Wing, Palmer Worden, John Wright and Charles Yeomans. In March, 1852, William Titus was appointed
collector. The value of unseated lands was $72,516, and of seated lands, $40,304.
The pioneers, many of whom are named above, came into this wilderness to hew out homes for their families, and
win from the forest that independence which an older civilization denied. Many of them succeeded in this peculiarly
American design, and around Cooksburg and Clarington names connected closely with the first development of this
section are found today.
Clarington, twelve miles from the railroad at Brookville, is the market town of Barnett township. J. B. Pearsall
& Co. and the Shields brothers were general merchants in 1884, and Peter Heasley was grocer.... William Armstrong
settled 'at this place in 1828, and established his mills here.
Daniel Harrington, in his reminiscences, published in 1879, says: "He was one of the earliest settlers on
the Clarion, and the oldest lumberman on that stream. Thirty five or forty years ago almost every man you would
meet hunting for work was inquiring the road or distance to Armstrong's mills. He was the true founder of the little
hamlet of Clarington, then constituting a part of Jefferson (now Forest) county, and containing, perhaps, 200 inhabitants.
There is a very substantial bridge over the river, built at the expense of the tax payers of Jefferson and Forest
counties. Clarington contains two hotels - we used to call them taverns - and one store of general merchandise.
The hills of the old logging ground have been burned over; and are thickly covered with briers, full of blackberries
at the proper season. Mr. Armstrong in his lumbering operations gave employment to a large number of men, and generally
had the good will of all. He had his ups and downs, like all lumbermen. He met with heavy losses by high water.
Not only was his lumber carried away, but his mill was wrecked by a flood. He was a man, however, whom no misfortunes
could discourage. He possessed a persevering disposition, that never thought of failure. He was quite small in
stature, with eyes as black as coal, and as sharp as the eyes of an eagle. I met him once in Cincinnati, and rode
in the stage with him from Kittanning to Clarion. His countenance was one never to be forgotten. I remember one
circumstance that illustrates the man. At the time he came up in the stage with me be had found a man in Cincinnati
whose fare he was paying, and whom he had brought along with him to work at his mills. He had discovered the poor
fellow drunk, destitute, almost naked, and he thought that, if he could get him home with him, away from whisky
and the evil influences of the city, he would make a new creature of him. The man had been a sailor, and was easily
led into bad habits. How Mr. Armstrong succeeded in his efforts to reform him I never heard, but I have no doubt
of his ultimate success. When the man was in the wilderness, where he could not get strong drink, reformation would
be a necessity and a natural consequence. This was only one of Mr. Armstrong's good deeds. He had all the inconveniences
of a new country to contend with. He was in the woods, far from civilization, and surrounded by the denizens of
the forest His whole dependence was lumber, and that, in his time, sold at very low prices, from the fact that
the market was almost always over stocked. Every tributary of the Allegheny river turned out its quota of the general
supply, and if the product was sold at all it had to be sold at a low figure. I have more than once run boards
to Cincinnati and sold them at $4 a thousand feet, less than the cost of manufacture; but the boards were there,
and I had to do something with them. Mr. Armstrong was, at least, sixty miles from any point of supplies. Brookville,
perhaps, or Kittanning, was the nearest place where he could obtain provisions. When we take into consideration
the cost and labor of transporting supplies for perhaps twenty five people over new roads, in a rough country,
it was no ordinary undertaking. Was it any wonder that at last he succumbed to the inevitable? Such trials would
have broken down a cast iron man, possessing nerves of steel. Mrs. Armstrong, now an old and feeble woman, is still
living with some of her children in Jefferson county."
Camp No. 504, P. O. S. of A., at Clarington, was instituted in February, 1890, by J. R. Chadwick, D. P., and W.
R. Adams, assistant. There were thirty five charter members.
Cooksburg is another old settlement often mentioned in the pioneer chapter. In the "thirties" it became
a household word among the pioneers of Central Forest, who generally halted there before proceeding farther into
the deep, pine woods to locate their homes, and subsequently visited the little village for trading purposes.
One of the saddest events connected with the township was the burning of John Black's house, July 12, 1868, when
his daughter, aged six years, was offered up to the fire god.
Early in 1885, Werk, Putney & Marshall purchased 2,300 acres near Redclyffe, from W. H. Boles, for $35,000,
and soon after erected their mills.