History of Jenks Township, Forest County, Pa.
From: History of the Counties of
McKean, Elk and Forest, Pennsylvania
J. H. Beers & Co., Publishers.
Chicago 1890


JENKS TOWNSHIP occupies a central position in the eastern half of the county. The west branch of Spring creek, rising in Howe township, flows through the extreme eastern warrants; Millstone creek rises on the ridge northeast of Marienville, and drains the central warrants, while Salmon creek and its feeders are found in the northwest quarter.

At a point 8,000 feet east of Marienville the old Pine Ridge coal mine was opened at an elevation of 1,742 feet. At Marienville summit a three foot bed of U. A. coal was found under 65 feet of sandstone, and M. U. coal at 170 feet, resting on conglomerate. At Walton's, between the Eldridge and Hunt farms, the Upper Alton coal was struck at fourteen feet, and also on the Beaver Dam tract, three and one quarter miles east by north of Marienville, at an elevation of 1,745 feet. From 1869 to 1872 coal was taken out here for blacksmithing purposes. Prior to 1883, when Col. Hunt's new house was built, coal mines were opened near his old home at an elevation of 1,660 feet. On the Parker farm, near the old school building, 1,690 feet above tide, is the bog-iron-ore tract; near the Salmon creek bridge, in the vicinity of Hunt' s old saw mill coal also exists at an altitude of 1,492 feet, while near by, at an elevation of 1,617 feet, coal outcrops. Near Marienville, at 1,610 feet, coal was mined in 1873 by Dr. Towler. In the dry hollow, below the village, bogiron ore is found. On warrant 3173 coal was mined some years ago. In 1858 Col. Hunt's mines in the bed of Millstone creek were opened; near Kinnear's hunting shanty coal was mined in the "seventies." In 1863 Kinnear opened a coal bed on Gilfoyle run at an elevation of 1,780 feet, while near Byrom station David S. Eldridge opened mines in 1859; near Nugent's summit an outcrop was worked in 1875, and near Rose's summit, above the marl swamp, another outcrop was worked that year. The township is full of fine building stone, but there is no record of limestone being found.

In 1880 the population of the whole township was 219. In 1888 there were 137 Republican, 93 Democratic and 15 Prohibitionist votes recorded, or a total of 245, showing the population to be about 1,225.

The officers elected for 1890 are as follows: Justice of the peace, E. Whitling; constable and collector, A. H. Smith; treasurer, C. S. Leech; auditor, A. B. Watson; clerk, J. A. Scott; road commissioner, A. K. Shipe; school directors, L. Burkhart, A. B. Niller; judge, W. Seigworth; inspectors, J. S. Williams, J. E. McClellan. The first assessment roll of Jenks township in possession of Clerk Brennan is that of 1852, by Cyrus Blood, assessor. Among the names of residents given thereon are James Anderson, an alien, and his son, the former owning 544 acres, and the latter a yoke of oxen; Thomas Anderson, Isaac Allen and William Armstrong, lot owners in Marienville; Cyrus Blood, owning 1,973 acres, 1 cow, 2 horses and a gold watch; K. L. Blood, 300 acres; Aaron Brockway, 160 acres, 1 yoke of oxen and 5 cows; II. H. Brockway, 2 cows and 137 acres; Russell Buff um, 210 acres, 2 horses and 4 cows; Ben Buffum, 1 cow; Stephen Buffum, 100 acres, oxen and cow; D. H. Burton, 50 acres; Oran Bennett, oxen and 80 acres; D. Buchanan, 150 acres; D. W. Burke, 100 acres and lot in Marienville; A. D. Beck, a lot in Marienville; also Peter Clover, W. W. Corbet, William Coon, Rufus Dodge, Bennett Dobbs, Dr. J. Dowling and Sam. C. Espy, lot owners in Marienville; James Eldridge, 869 acres, 2 horses, oxen and 3 cows; David Eldridge, 100 acres; Dan. Earl, 1 horse; John Gilfoyle, 100 acres; John D. Hunt, 874 acres, 3 yoke of oxen and 3 cows; C. D. Hart, 186 acres, oxen and cow; J. H. Hershman and Ralph Hill, single men; Isaac Heath, 60 acres; Michael Imhoos, a cow; N. H. Jones, 220 acres and 2 horses; John P. Jones, 480 acres, oxen, horse, cow and silver watch; G. McLaughlin and J. S. McPherson, lots in Marienville; John Nees (or Nuss), yoke of oxen; Thomas Porter, oxen and cow; Benj. Sweet, tutor, 100 acres; Dan. Stowe, Abram Winsor and John Wynkoop, lots in Marien; William Walton, James Pickman and Thomas Nugent. Urial H. Brockway was appointed collector. The assessed value of seated lands was $9,531, and of unseated lands, $30,128.

In June, 1882, the township counted 50 votes and 200 inhabitants; in June, 1883, there were 130 voters recorded and 600 inhabitants. Then it had no store, later it had four; then it had three schools, later it had five; then it had three school houses, later it had four and one building; then it had one train per day, while in June, 1883. it had four trains each way, making connections with the Philadelphia & Erie at Sheffield, Allegheny Valley Railroad at Foxburg, and other great trunk lines running east. In June, 1882, it had only one little hamlet, Marienville; in June, 1883, it had three respectable villages - Marienville, Byrom's and Curll, Campbell & Co.'s Mills. Marienville increased from no stores or hotel, to two stores, one hotel and a restaurant, and from six dwellings to thirty. Byrom's had grown from nothing to a well regulated village of twenty dwellings. Curl, Campbell & Co.'s Mills, from a forest to a village of fifteen families, and a school pupilage of twenty three.

Daniel Harrington, speaking of Marienville and the country south of it as it appeared in 1882, says: " The country between Marien and Clarington, a distance of twelve miles, is ' Forest,' sure enough, and always will be. It is scarcely susceptible of cultivation, except small spots, here and there. It is the country for tanneries, for the timber is mostly hemlock, with a sprinkling of ash and cherry. I saw one cherry tree three feet in diameter at the butt, and at least sixty feet without a limb I don't believe a whip-poor-will or a bluejay ever passed over this twelve mile stretch of woods, between Marien and the Clarion river, without carrying a knapsack of provisions. But Marien is improving. She now has a pipe line and a line of telegraph."

To Mr. Harrington, also, the writer is indebted for the following sketch of the pioneer of Jenks township: "Cyrus Blood, the founder of Forest county, was born at New Lebanon, N. H., March 3, 1795. In his seventeenth year he went to Boston, Mass., where he remained until he finished his school education. When twenty two years old he made a visit to his brother, then principal of an academy at Chambersburg, Penn. Soon after that date Cyrus was appointed principal of an academy at Hagerstown, Md. He remained in charge of that institution for several years. His scholastic acquirements were such as to attract attention, and in time he was offered a professorship in Dickinson college, at Carlisle, Penn., and accepted the position. His health, however, was failing, and by the advice of his physician he resigned his professorship, and took a trip through the Middle and Southern States. In his journeying he came to Jefferson county, Penn. Finding that the northern portion of that county was an almost unbroken wilderness, he conceived the idea of establishing a settlement in those wilds, and ultimately forming a new county. For several years he made annual visits to that section, and finally succeeded in purchasing a large tract of land from one of the land companies. It was understood at the time of making the purchase that the company was to open a road to the projected settlement, but in 1833, when Mr. Blood arrived at what is now Corsica, Jefferson county, he found, to his surprise and annoyance, that no road had been made. Leaving his family behind him, he hired men and teams, and, starting from Armstrong's mills, on the Clarion river, he and his men cut their way, step by step, twelve miles, to his wilderness purchase. At night the little party camped out the best they could, and in the morning again pressed onward. On their arrival at the new possessions, a small clearing was made, a house erected, and in October, 1833, the family, consisting of Mr. Blood, his wife and five children, settled down in their new forest home. It is almost impossible to trace, step by step, the trials and difficulties of the new settlers. They had been accustomed to all the comforts of town life. But energy and enterprise were characteristics of our pioneer, and he and his family struggled bravely to overcome present obstacles, in hope of success. In the same year Mr. Blood was joined in his undertaking by Col. John D. Hunt. From that time to the present the history of old Forest, as well as the successes and failures of our pioneer are cotemporaneous with the history, successes and failures of Col. Hunt. The joys and the sorrows, the hard trials and reverses of Cyrus Blood, were the joys and sorrows, the trials and reverses of John D. Hunt. The histories of the two men are the same and inseparable.

"The new settlement was known far and near as Blood's Settlement. For many years Mr. Blood was the only mail carrier. With every pocket loaded with letters and papers he would start from Brookville for home through the dark woods. Wolves, bears and panthers were plentiful in those days, and often was he followed on his solitary way by those wild denizens of the forest. On one occasion, in the night, he poked with his cane what he supposed was a cow lying in his path, but which proved to be a big bear. Mr. Blood took one side of the path, and the bear the other. Much to the gratification of the former, the bear was not traveling in his direction. At another time some of the children ran into the house, saying that some dogs were playing in the garden. Mr. Blood quickly took his gun down from the hooks, and went out just in time to see several panthers jumping over the fence. With all his narrow escapes and surprises he never shot a wild beast. His thoughts and aims led him away from any approach to a hunter's life. The new settlement struggled on, year after year. Going to mill in those days was a trip to the lower part of Clarion county, and sometimes to Kittanning. In due time the new county scheme was perfected, and the seat of justice fixed at Blood's Settlement, thereafter to be known as Marien, in honor of Mr. Blood's eldest daughter, now Mrs. John D. Hunt. A frame court house, of rather large dimensions, was erected. Hon. John S. McCalmont, of Venango county, held the first court, with Mr. Blood as one of the associate judges Judge Blood died before his term of office expired, on January 12, 1860, in the sixty fourth year of his age."

Shortly after the beginnings of Blood's Settlement were made, the pioneers, named in the pioneer chapter, flocked in, but with all their efforts the whole township had but 219 inhabitants in 1880.

In November, 1889, Messrs. Galbraith, Mason and Hooton, United States revenue officials, visited Jenks township on a hunting expedition. On the headwaters of Bear creek they discovered a moonshine distillery, which they confiscated, and having made one or two arrests, returned home.

Dr. S. S. Towler drilled a well on the Hunt farm in 1881 to a depth of about 2,000 feet. At a depth of 900 feet a gas vein was struck, and since that time Marienville has had a full supply of gas.... The Kahle Bros.' well was drilled in 1887 to a depth of about 850 feet.... The rate to consumers is $2 in winter and $1 in summer per store per month, and 15 cents for lights.

Oak City, on the road from the mouth of Bear creek to Marienville, came into existence after the discovery of oil. In January, 1883, the village had its water works and gas system. This gas was obtained from Cornwell's well of the year before... Shoup's mill, on the head of Salmon creek, was built in November, 1879.... The Phillis & Neill saw mills, below Gilfoyle were built in 1888. The capacity is about 15,000 feet per day, giving employment to ten men. The firm own 300 acres of hemlock around the mills, on which there are ten or twelve men employed generally.

Return to [ PA History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ]

All pages copyright 2003-2012. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy