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


Marienville (or Marionville, according to the postal guide) dates back to October, 1833, when Cyrus Blood and family made their settlement there. Determined efforts were made to build up the place, but these failing the owner and residents resolved to establish a new county with this place as the county seat. To this end Mr. Blood interested James L. Gillis and others, and as stated in the chapter devoted to the transactions of the county commissioners, Forest county was established by a joint resolution of the house and senate. The business appears to have been done in a peculiar way, for in the printed records of the assembly of 1848-49 and 1850 there is no mention made of the resolution, nor does there appear to be much done toward organization until 1851, when supplementary acts were passed countenancing this strange resolution, and in 1856 the new county was thoroughly detached from Jefferson.

The addition to the town of Marienville by Bennett and Nancy Dobbs was made in February, 1857. This comprised 160 acres on the southeast corner of tract 3169, warranted to Herman Leroy and Jan Linklain, later the property of G. W. Lathy. The lots were 55x165 feet, and the streets sixty feet wide.

From this period until 1866 the village showed some signs of life, but the addition of five townships made that year brought forth a new peril for the little county seat, and ultimately robbed it of the county offices. From this period up to the fall of 1882 there was little here. The oil excitement of that year, and the energy of the people tended to improve the place, and by June, 1883, the hamlet had grown into a thriving village.

In 1884 A. J. Sigworth was postmaster, and Kahle & Sigworth, general merchants. Henry, Bayard & Co., Williams & Mahoney, Shipe, Mensch & Co., F. M. Rech & Co. and Rider & Co. were operating saw mills; Whitney Brothers carried on the Hub Factory; J. B. Watson & Son, the hotel; John D. Hunt, now C. F. Hunt, was merchant; T. J. Reiner was grocer; S. S. Towler was physician; M. C. Caringer kept the restaurant; Hines & Son carried on the meat market. In October, 1885, J. B. Watson was appointed postmaster.

The editor of the Brockwayville Record visited the town in February, 1886, and thus describes it: "This town was formerly the county seat of Forest county, but the seat has been removed to Tionesta. The ground on which this town was built was land first bought and improved by Cyrus Blood, more than fifty years ago. The Pittsburgh & Western Railroad runs through the town, and has been the means of building it up considerably in the last two or three years. The town is rather pleasantly situated. The main business here appears to be the shipping of lumber of various kinds. There are several men here form Buffalo whose business alone is to measure and sort hardwood. There appears to be a large supply of a superior quality. When I came here I didn't expect to see any person I knew. I was very agreeably disappointed; Hon. J. B. Watson, the proprietor of the Watson House, is a man I have known for a number of years. He is an ex-prothonotary of Clarion county. He keeps a good house; is a friend of temperance and everything good. James Morrison, an old neighbor, has a contract of sawing and delivering a lot of lumber to the railroad; Henry Bullers and wife are keeping a millinery store and hotel; Mr. Flick, formerly of Brockwayville, started a barber shop here a few days ago. A great many of the residents here are burning natural gas from a well near the town, and yet gas is not always to be depended upon. Yesterday about noon as we were sitting around the stoves, and ceoks were in the middle of dinner cooking, suddenly the fires ceased to burn, and dinner was delayed about one hour. Certainly it was not pleasant with the mercury below zero. While I was sitting, looking out of the window, a poor man was dragging out one of his horses, frozen stiff enough, apparently, to send to Europe as a refrigerator. Truly it is a county of forest. From Clarington to this point is almost a dense forest. A great deal of the pine timber was cut off along the road years ago. S. S. Towler, formerly of Reynoldsville, is physician, and Rev. J. Weldon, of Troy, is the minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. There are two church buildings in the town - a small Methodist Episcopal Church building and the Presbyterians have a right nice little church building nearly completed. Rev. J. Hickling is the only Presbyterian minister in the county. He lives in Tionesta, and preaches there, at Tylersburg and at Scotch Hill."

The first death in the settlement was that of an o13 German lady in 1843 or 1844, followed by that of Josiah Leary. The former was buried just east of the Blood homestead, and the latter in the same field.

The first school was held in Mr. Blood's house, Miss Marien Blood being teacher. The next school was at Kiefer's, near the head of the springs, Col. Hunt being among the first teachers.

Mr. McMichael was the first Presbyterian preacher here, but prior to this a physician and preacher, Dr. Otis Smith, of the United Brethren Society, preached in Mr. Blood's house in 1843. He is said to be the hero of eleven marriages. He gave out the first hymn sung in the old county: " Go preach my gospel, said the Lord."

The Lutheran society was formed at Marienville, in 1850, by Mr. Fair. It continued in existence until after the war.... Methodism was introduced by Mr. Hull shorty after that of Presbyterianism.

Saumel Barr, the old stage driver, who died about four years ago at Brookville, was the first Baptist preacher, some time in the " fifties." The Methodist Episcopal circuit of Marienville, was detached from Clarington in 1888, and Rev. J. M. Edwards was appointed pastor. Among the old members are Jacob Mercilliott and wife, John Dodge and wife, and N. K. Burton and wife. In the winter of 1883-84 a great revival meeting won many converts, and the modern church entered upon an era of progress. In 1884 the present church was erected at a cost of about $900. Mr. Hames was class leader from 1883 to 1888, when Peter English was chosen. There are about fifty members, many of whom were received by Mr. Farout, the present pastor.... The old Lutheran society of Marienville disbanded years ago.

The first Presbyterian Church of Marienville was organized on May 29, 1883, composed of the following persons: S. S. Towler, M. D., Mrs. M. C. Watson, Miss H. K. Watson, Mrs. C. L. Rohrer, Hon. John D. Hunt, Mrs. M. F. Hunt, Mrs. B. L. Hunt, Miss E. L. Rose, Mrs. Margaret Walton and Mrs. Clara B. Towler. Soon after a number more were added, and J. H. Mensch, Esq., and Dr. Towler were elected elders. On May 17, 1886, the church was incorporated, the following persons qualifying as trustees: Charles S. Leech, C. W. Amsler, S. F. Rohrer, John D. Hunt, H. H. McClellan and Dr. S. S. Towler. In June, 1886, the church building was completed at a cost of $2,050, and opened for public service on July 4, 1886, and dedicated July 17, 1886, Rev. B. F. Williams officiating. The building is a very neat frame 35x55 feet, with annex 8x20, and vestibule 10x10. It is finished largely in natural wood, with arched ceiling. The house is heated by natural gas. In January, 1888, the pulpit was filled by supplies, but since that time Rev. H. F. Easseman has been pastor. The present membership is forty three, including elders, J. H. Mensch and S. S. Towler. The trustees are S. S. Towler, president; Charles S. Leech, secretary; C. W. Amsler, treasurer; H. H. McClellan, C. F. Hunt and John H. Mensch. The only changes in the corporate body are C. F. Hunt vice John H. Hunt, deceased, and John H. Mensch vice S. F. Rohrer, deceased.

Jenks Lodge, No. 250, I. O. O. F., Marienville, was instituted under charter May 13,1885, with the following named members: J. F. Gaul, P. G.; H. H. McClellan, P. G.; A. K. Shipe, P. G.; J. W. Cole, W. H. Sigworth, T. J. Reyner, E. A. Yetter, C. W. Amsler, H. Bullers, F. P. Walker, F. M. Rech and C. S. Leech. H. H. McClellan was the first noble grand of the lodge, followed by W. H. Sigworth, J. W. Cole, T. J. Reyner, E. A. Yetter, O. C. Christy, H. H. McClellan, O. C. Christy and P. H. Dean, who is the present presiding officer. John F Gaul was first secretary, followed by T. J. Reyner in 1888. In 1889 E. A. Yetter, the present secretary, was elected. There are now (March, 1890) forty two members. The hall was destroyed by fire January 1, 1890. Quarters were found in the new Leech building. A second building was erected by Mr. Leech to be used by all the lodges.

Equitable Aid Union, No. 411, was organized in June, 1884, by G. W. Brown and J. B. Watson, with forty eight charter members, including the following named officers: Chancellor, J. B. Watson; advocate, A. J. McCray; president. Dr. S. S. Towler; vice president, Miss Lizzie Watson; auxiliary, Mrs. A. H. Palmer; secretary, Miss G. M. McClellan; treasurer, D. E. White; accountant, T. J. Reyner; chaplain, A. K. Sipe; warden, Henry Kime; sentinel, Mrs. D. E. White; watchman, A. Wisner; conductor, O. C. Christy; assistant commander, Katie Hamer; examining physician, Dr. S. S. Towler; trustee, M. Mandeville; representative to Grand Union, Dr. S. S. Towler.

The W. C. T. U., of Marienville, was organized May 10, 1886, with the following named members: Malvina Lowman, Kittie Leech, Edith Gaul, Emeline Salida, Marien Hunt, Clarine F. Rohrer, Margaret Watson, Bella L. Hunt, Eliza Mercilliott, Louisa Dodge, Ella Leech, Mary Rohrer, May Bullers, Rose Scott, Kittie Watson, Margaret Walton, Jennie Yetter, Nina Salida, Mrs. Edwards and Clara B. Towler. The presidents, Mrs. E. Gaul and Kizzie Watson, on whose death in May, 1889, Miss Nina Salida was elected.

Marienville Council, No. 14, O. U. A. M., was instituted under charter, May 14, 1889. The applicants for the charter are the following named members: J. A. Frampton, J. R. Barr, S. M. Neely, S. P. Leech, J. Mercilliot, P. C. Neely, W. F. Adams, G. W. Smith, M. Lubold, E. E. Carbaugh, J. B. Story, Isaac Watterson, H. A. Pierce, H. K. Shipe, A. J. Kunselman, H. A. Shipe, C. M. Jones, S. C. Rankin, E. M. Clarke, W. H. Eisenhuth, Clinn. McConn, W. C. Brown, D. L. Frampton, T. W. English, A. G. Leech, H. Stakley, S. M. Henry, John McAfee and E. E. Burton. J. R. Barr was first councillor; and T. W. English, secretary. There are forty seven members.

Washington Camp, No. 140, P. O. S. of A., was organized by W. F. Adams, P. P., June 24, 1887, with twenty six members, among whom were: W. Francis Adams, Jacob Mercilliott, Jr., J. R. Flick, J. B. Flick, J. E. McClellan, J. A. Frampton, A. C. Frampton, Peter M. Walton, John T. Watson, Frank L. Yetter, T. J. Reyner, P. H. Dean, George G. Cressy, R. S. Y. Cressy, S. M. Neely, Carl. Bullers, W. J. Austin, Frank Dodge, J. M. Dodge and W. H. Taylor. J. A. Frampton, J. E. McClellan, W. H. Taylor, H. A. Shipe served as presidents; J. E. Leech is now president and J. E. McClellan is secretary.

Marienville cornet band was organized in May, 1889, with W. F. Adams, president; A. C. Frampton, secretary; T. R. Reyner, treasurer; W. P. Smullen, leader; with Messrs. Nevison, J. A. Frampton, J. Mercilliott, J. T. Watson, D. L. Frampton, T. D. Mohney, Roland Rech, J. E. McClellan, L. Bevier and David Greybill.

In January, 1889, Rev. Mr. Elder's mother was burned during the destruction of his house at Marienville. This was the first serious natural gas fire in this county.

The tire of January 1, 1890, originated in Harp's barber shop, and before the general alarm could be sounded the building was almost entirely enveloped in flames, spreading rapidly until the shoe shop of Justice E. Whitling, and the drug store of Dr. Stonecipher, adjoining, were past saving. The next building to catch fire was the fine large hotel of J. B. Watson, which was totally destroyed. Next came the large new mercantile building of T. J. Reyner, full of goods; also a large warehouse belonging to him, which were both consumed. The fire stopped here, having no more fuel to feed upon, but the destruction and loss was surely great enough for one town like Marienville. The losses, as nearly as could be ascertained, are as follows: T. J. Reyner, loss on buildings and goods, $5,000; insured for $2,700. J. B. Watson, loss of hotel and furniture, $3,000; no insurance. Dr. Stonecipher saved most of his goods; loss not estimated. K Whitling's loss was total; not estimated. H. IL Harp's loss was also total. The Odd Fellows had their lodge room over Reyner's store, and lost most of their furniture, etc., amounting to about $400; covered by insurance. Four other secret orders occupied the same room, and lost all they had. They were the Equitable Aid Union, Patriotic Order Sons of America, American Mechanics, and the Sons of Temperance.

The hub factory, part of which was destroyed by fire some years ago, gave employment to fourteen men in 1883, and produced 4,000 hubs per week. The drying houses still stand near the depot.... The C. S. Leech mill was erected in 1887. The capacity of the saw mill is about 14,000 feet per day, and of the planing mill about the same. The industry gives employment to eight men.... Within a radius of five miles of Marienville are the saw mills of J. H. Morrison; Baker, Hammond & Co.; Hammond & Messenger; S. L. Clough & Co.; Buckeye Lumber Company; Curll, Campbell & Co.; N. Guilford, Curll & Campbell; Phillis & Neill, W. H. Frost; J. M. Edwards, Maple Creek Lumber Company, and C. S. Leech. The shingle mills are owned by David Drury, Blanchard & Rogers, M. E. Graybill and F. L. White.

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