History Bell Township, Westmoreland County, Pa.
From: History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania
By: John N. Boucher
Published By: The Lewis Publishing Company
New York, Chicago, 1906


Bell township was erected out of parts of Loyalhanna and Salem townships, and was organized in 1853. It is bounded on the north by the Kiskiminetas river; on the east and southwest by Loyalhanna township; on the south by Salem township, and on the west by Huntingdon township. On the northeastern boundary is built the Pennsylvania railroad. Its principal stream besides the Kiskiminetas river is the Beaver run. This township is underlaid with coal, which is being mined. It has also large deposits of fire clay from which fire brick is manufactured. In former chapters we have spoken of the Carnahan blockhouse. It was built in this township by John Carnahan, and was for many years a refuge in time of Indian incursion, for himself and neighbors for miles around.

Among the early settlers were the Yockeys, Carnahans, Callens, Marshalls, Whitfields, Clawsons, Ewings, Hiens, Rumbaughs, Taylors, Alcorns, Neelys, McKees, Hiltys, Thompsons, Kuhns, Blairs, Pauls, Kennedys, Glasses, Klines, McDivitts, McCauleys, Walkers, Beattys, Gartleys, Montgomerys, Bowmans, Householders, Robinsons, McConnells, Elwoods, Wolf ords, Bears, Huffs, Longs, etc.

The Getman Reformed and Lutheran Churches established a congregation nearly a mile north of Helena, on a bluff overlooking the Kiskiminetas river, near the site of an old Indian village called "Old Town." The land was donated by a farmer named Simon Hine. Upon it they established a Church and a graveyard, and in 1803, a few years after the graveyard was in use, the neighbors hewed logs, each one on his own home, and hauled them to this point, and at a time fixed the entire neighborhood met to roll the logs together and build a church. But a dispute arose between the churches on the question as to whom the ground should be deeded. This dispute was never settled, and the logs were left to lie there untouched until they decayed. About 1810 Christopher Yockey, of the Reformed Church, gave a lot of ground about three miles southwest of this, and upon it a church was erected. The first Reformed pastor was John William Weber, who began preaching there about 1808, and continued until about 1816. His successor was William Veinel, who preached to them until 1838, in which year they built a very respectable church edifice of brick as a church building. The church cost $2,200. Both the Reformed and the Lutheran congregations were united in constructing this church. It was built by Matthew Callen and John Paul. Rev. Henry Kneeler, a Reformed minister, preached here, though he lived in Kittanning and preached also in Butler. He remained attached to the charge till 1846. Rev. Voight also preached there, probably following Rev. Veinel. Rey. Samuel H. Giesey began preaching there in November. 1848, and remained with them till 1855. He was followed by Rev. Thos. G. Apple in 1856 and 1857. During these years the charge had been connected with Greensburg. A separation took place in 1856. Rev. Apple was followed by Rey. Richard P. Thomas, who preached to them from April 1, 1858, to April 1,1863. He was succeeded by Rev. T. J. Barkley, who remained till January 1, 1867. Revd. T. F. Stauffer served them from May, 1867, till September, 1861. The church has had much difficulty in procuring a separation from the Lutheran interests, and has not had regular pastors since. Rev. J. B. Welty, Rev. John McConnel and others have served them since 1874. The township has seven schools, and 192 pupils enrolled.

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