History Penn Township, Westmoreland County,
From: History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania
By: John N. Boucher
Published By: The Lewis Publishing Company
New York, Chicago, 1906
The application for the organization of this township had been in court for ten years, and was finally favorably
considered on February 23, 1855. It was named in honor of William Penn, and was carved from portions of Hempfield,
Franklin, Salem and North Huntingdon townships. Included within its bounds is the noted "Manor of Denmark,"
one of the two special reservations of our county that were set aside for the Penns exclusively. It is one of the
most fertile townships in the country, and is bounded on the west by the Allegheny county line: on the south by
North Huntingdon and Hempfield townships: on the east by Hempfield township, and on the north by Salem and Franklin
townships. Across it runs the Forbes Road, as cut by Forbes in 1758 when on his way west to capture Fort Duquesne.
The surface of the township is hilly, and the farms are well cultivated. It has an abundance of bituminous coal
which is easily mined. The veins are generality over six feet in thickness, and have added greatly to the wealth
of the township. One of the early settlers of the township was Andrew Byerl, whose exploits as a pioneer and Indian
fighter have been considered elsewhere. Other early settlers were Balthazer Myers, the noted school teacher and
preacher; the Owings. Fritchmans, McWilliams, Kemerers, Blinkers, Finks, Knappenbergers, Keisters, Heislers, Cyders,
Berlins, Lauffers, Gongawares, Waugamans, Blackburn, Millers, Walthours, Shutters, Sowashes, Newdorfers, Fifers,
Klines, Clarks and others. In the early days the standard of education was not very high. The old time schoolmasters
went around in the fall after the farmers had housed their corn, potatoes, etc., with a subscription book, and
tried to raise the necessary number of scholars to remunerate them for their winter's teaching. The text books
used were the "New England Primer", "The United States Spelling Book," the "Western Calculator,"
and the Bible and Testament. The pupils, it is said, were each compelled to commit the catechism to memory. The
writing department was exclusively by written copies at the top of the page, which were made by the master himself
with a quill pen. "Setting copies," mending pens, and whipping pupils occupied no small part of the school
teacher's time. The school hours were from eight in the morning until five in the evening, with an hour's recess
at noon for dinner. In that day all who could not afford to pay the teacher for their tuition were neglected, and
there were many in each township who did not attend school at all in their youth. Some, however, who did attend
school who were too poor to pay their tuition, had their tuition paid by the county commissioners upon a certificate
from the county, officers that they were unable to pay, and notwithstanding that had gone to school.
Beulah United Presbyterian Church was situated on Byers Run, in the northwestern part of the township, and was
organized in June, 1845. Its first minister was William Connor, who served them until 188 and died in 1864. He
was succeeded by Rev. Walkinshaw, T. F. Boyd, U. R. Rankin and others. The Presbyterians, Catholics and Methodists
have each organizations. in the present Penn borough.
The handsome little town of Manor is the outgrowth of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which was finished in 1852 as a single track road, and up to that date was surrounded by forests, though fairly well settled by a colony of hardy pioneers. This section was known as Denmark Manor, being one of the two manors or estates procured from the heirs of William Penn. In 1783 Stofel Walthour built a mill on Brush creek, the first and only building for a number of years. Messrs. Ludwick, Miller and Berlin purchased the Ward farm and laid out the town of Manor in 1873, which was incorporated in 1884. It contains a Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist and Reformed churches, a fine school building, three hotels and twelve stores, two handle factories, a flour mill, a cement block factory and a National Bank. It is the terminal of the Manor Talley Railroad. One of its leading industries is the Beamer Handle Works, which mannfactures all kinds of hickory handles. They are one of the leading handle factories in the state and ship their product to all of the eastern cities and states. It has four schools, with 176 pupils.
This town is located on the Pennsylvania Railroad, six miles west of Greensburg. It was laid out in 1859 by
J. H. Oliver and the Penn Gas Coal Company. It was incorporated in 1865 by petition of its inhabitants, and although
its incorporation was remonstrated against by its own citizens, on October 19th the court granted the prayer of
the petitioners and its incorporation became complete. On Friday, November 2, 1865, they held their first borough
election at the house of Ralph Pratt.