Hamilton Child.

Gazetteer and business directory of Crawford County, Pa., for 1874 online

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first settled by Thomas Grant, who, for some reason, left it in
the fall and returned to Northumberland county. John and
David Mead brought their families here that fall, and the latter,
who had previously selected a place immediately south of his
brother's, on the west side of the creek, about a mile above
Meadville, crossed the Creek and occupied the place abandoned
by Grant. Mead erected a double log house, which was the
first one built upon the site of the city which perpetuates his
name. The families of the Meads were the first to settle in the
county. The remainder of the party located on the west side
of the creek, principally upon the point of land formed by the
confluence of French and Cussewago creeks. Having fully
established themselves in their new homes, their number was
soon increased by other settlers, among whom were Samuel
Lord, John Wentworth and Frederick Haymaker. In 1789,
they were joined by Frederick Baum, Robert FitzRandolph
and Darius Mead, the father of John and David Mead ; and
these were soon followed by many others, so that the colony
became respectable in numbers, as well as in the character of
those who composed it.

In this year occurred the first birth in the county — that of
Sarah Mead — in the family of David Mead ; and a saw mill was
commenced by the same individual, and was completed the
following year. From this mill in the spring of 1790, was sent
to Pittsburgh, together with a raft of logs, the first raft of
boards which descended the Allegheny. The lumber was sold
for twelve shillings per hundred to Major Isaac Craig, who was
Quartermaster to the troops located at that place. These early
settlers were obliged to transport their provisions and
utensils from Pittsburgh, or the more distant Susque-
hanna country, wlience many of them came, tlirough dense
forests, devoid of roads, and over bridgeless streams.
For a long time the streams were their only common high-
ways, and along these, as might be expected, the settle-



64 MEAD.

ments were first projected. But in addition to the hard-
ships and privations incident to pioneer life, they were for
several years harassed and subjected to imminent peril by the
frequent warlike incursions of the bands of hostile Indians
who infested this country, and who so long retarded its settle-
ment and for some time threatened the utter expulsion of the
whites, who were too few in number to cope successfully with
their wily adversary. Happily, however, a few of the nomadic
Indians preserved their friendship for the whites, to whom they
rendered valuable aid by giving timely warning of the approach
of their enemies. Among these were a chief named Cana-
danghta, and his three sons, Flying Cloud, Standing Stone and Big
Sun, who occupied wigwams at the mouth of Conneaut Creek,
in Ohio ; Half town, also a chief, and half-brother of the cele-
brated chief Cornplanier; an old chief named Strike Neck, and
an Indian named Wire Ears. During the year 1790 the settlers
tilled their farms without molestation, but about the first of
April, 1791, they were apprised by Flying Cloud of a contem-
plated attack by the western Indians, who were then on their
way to the settlement. This was corroborated by Wm. Gregg,
who reported having seen eleven strange Indians four miles
north-west of Meadville. Immediate preparations for flight
were made, and on the second day of April, the women and
children were sent in canoes down French Creek, under the
escort of six of Halftown's warriors on each side of the stream,
to Franklin, a small military post established in 1787, where
were about forty effective men. That chief, at the head of his
remaining warriors, some fifteen in number, then acted in con-
cert with the whites, who remained to guard their property.
They lay in wait during the day at Kennedy's Bridge, on the
east side of the creek, expecting the enemy would ford the stream
at that place, but as nothing further was seen of them they re-
tired at night to the house of David Mead, which had been
fortified by means of a stockade and rendered capable of defence
against small arms. The next day the settlers, after consulta-
tion, started for the fort at Franklin, to rejoin their families.
They arrived at their destination on the fourth, with their
cattle and moveable effects, accompanied by Halftown and his
men. After a month's stay at the garrison three of the party
(Cornelius VanHorne, Wm. Gregg and Thomas Ray,) returned
to the farms they were obliged temporarily to abandon for the
purpose of putting in their spring crops, but the hazardous
adventure resulted in the death of Gregg, at the hands of the
Indians, and the capture of both VanHorne and Eay, both of
whom, however, effected their escape and subsequently became
useful and honored citizens, the former locating in the township



MEAD. 65



of Vernon, and the latter on the east side of the creek, above
Bemustown, where he died. This same year witnessed the cap-
ture and death of Darius Mead, by the same agency. He was
made a prisoner while engaged in plowing in a field adjacent to
the fort, by two Indians, and is supposed to have met his death
while attempting an escape, as his dead body was subsequently
found lying beside that of one of his captors, near the Shen-
ango Creek, in Mercer county. The year 1791 was one of
extreme peril to the settlers on the western border of the State,
as owing to the defeat of the army under Harmer in the early
part of the year, and that under St.Clair in November, they
were left almost entirely to the mercy of their savage enemies.
Being thus exposed, the settlements in this county were aban-
doned, and the locality was only visited by scouting parties and
surveyors. In the spring of 1793, Gen. Wayne having been
appointed to command the army, and confidence in a measure
restored, the settlers returned and were joined by others from
the Susquehanna country. At their solicitation Gen. Wayne
detached a company of twenty-four men, under command of
Ensign Lewis Bond, from his army to protect them while en-
gaged in putting in their crops. This company was stationed
at the house of David Mead, before alluded to. During the
summer it was recalled to join the main army, and soon after
its departure the settlers were again notified by the friendly
Flyiny 6Vo?^ri that their old foes were about to make another
de»5cent upon them. Being without any adequate protection
they had no alternative but to flee to the fort at Franklin, or
continue to cultivate their lands at the peril of life. Pru-
dence dictated the former course and consequently the improve-
ments were again abandoned. Some, however, of the more
resolute ones returned in the fall and winter of the same year,
in defiance of the dangers which beset them. In the spring of
1794 nearly all the old settlers had returned and many new ones
had jellied them. Many improvements were instituted; muni-
cipal law began to be enforced, and a militia company, of
which Cornelius Vanllorne was elected captain, was organized.
'I'he settlers resolved to defend themselves and their homes
against the assaults and barbarities of their savage foes, and the
moreetfectually to ellect this object a rude but serviceable block-
house, mounting a cannon in the upper story, and surmounted
l>y a sentry-box, was constructed on a triangular lot, at the cor-
ner of Water Street and Steer'salley. It was builtof logs, and the
upper story projected l)eyond the lower one. In 1S'^*8, having
seiv«'d at various tinifs .is a school house, carpenter shop, black-
smith shop and teiienieiit house, it was removed to make way
lor the improvements of the growing village. The lot on



66 MEAD.

which it stood was donated by Mr. Mead for school purposes.
It was subsequently transferred by the Legislature to the Mead-
ville Female Seminary, and by the trustees of that institution
was sold to Thomas Wilson.

Prior to the enforcement of municipal law it must not be
presumed that the social intercourse of the settlers was
characterized by entire harmony; on the contrary disputes hot
and fierce often occurred, and were sometimes settled with their
fists, but more frequently by the arbitrament of a disinterested
party. A somewhat singular instance of this character is
related in which a dispute between David Mead and John
Wentworth, relative to a field of corn which the one agreed to
cultivate for the other, was referred to two strangers who were
passing through the village at the time and were accosted by
the disputants on Water street. They immediately unslung
their knapsacks and, having listened to the statements of both
parties, rendered a decision which gave mutual satisfaction,
when they resumed their journey. David Mead was the first
commissioned justice of the peace in the county, an office which
he held till 1799, when he became one of the Associate Judges
of the countv. One of the first cases on his docket was an ac-
tion for debt, in which he was plaintiff and Eobert Fitz Ran-
dolph, defendant. Unfortunately when the Governor gave the
people a justice he forgot to give the justice a constable. Here
was a novel dilemma, but Mead did not suffer it to defeat the
ends of justice. He issued and served the summons himself,
and when the day of hearing came a trial was had and a judg-
ment rendered the plaintiff for the amount of his claim. He
then issued and served an execution, levying upon a horse, the
property of the defendant, wiiich he advertised for sale. He
put up the notices, and at the sale, over which he presided, he
bought the horse, and paid the surplus proceeds over to the
defendant.

During this year (1794) the settlers worked their farms in
small companies, ever on the alert to avert the danger which
constantly threatened them. Great anxiety was felt for the
safety of the women and children, and when imminent danger
was apprehended they sought security in the house and cellar
of David Mead, a precaution which subsequent events proved
to be a wise one. On the 10th of August of that year, a settler
named James Dickson, a native of Scotland, who lived to a good
old age and left a numerous and respectable family, while
searching for his cows on the eastern bank of French Creek,
almost within sight of the block house, was fired upon by a
party of Indians in ambush. One ball passed through his left
hand, a second one inflicted a wound in the hip and a third, in



MEAD. 67

the right shoulder. Supposing the attacking party had dis-
charged all their guns, and being desirous to return the com-
compliment, as he had his gun with him, he endeavored to dis-
cover the concealed foe. When the smoke had sufficiently
cleared away he discovered the barrel of another gun leveled at
him, and concluding that the head of the individual holding it
was not far distant from the end opposite that directed toward
him, he raised his gun to fire, but before he could do so the
weapon pointed at him was discharged, and the ball passed
through his hat, grazing the top of his head. Disliking to be
made the target of a concealed foe the bold Scotchman retorted
with a shout of defiance and called upon "the cowardly dogs to
come and fight him fair." Eager to accept the challenge, or
goaded by the caustic rebuke, two of the Indians sprang from
their concealment and rushed toward him, tomahawk in hand.
Each covered his advance by dodging behind trees, evidently
fearing the Scot's rifle, which was yet undischarged. Seeing
that his retreat to the blockhouse was likely to be cut off, Dick-
son rushed toward the Indian on his right, and as he advanced the
latter retreated. He repeated this maneuver several times, all
the time reserving his fire, and having gained the shelter of the
woods he endeavored to reach an old log cabin, intending when
there to revengfe the injury he had sustained before trying his
speed, wounded as he was, in a foot race to the blockhouse.
Before he reached the cabin, the Indians abandoned the pur-
suit and were seen no more, though Flying Cloudy and three or
four others, having heard the firing, immediately started in
pursuit, in which Dickson was with difficulty dissuaded by his
wife and friends from joining. "The old man insisted to the
day of his death, that once, when he was just in the act of fir-
ing, a low voice said to him, 'Don't shoot'; whereupon he
reserved his load, and thereby preserved his life." The last depre-
dation committed by the Indians in this county, resulting in
loss of life, occurred on the 3d of June, 1795, when James Find-
ley and Barnabas McCormick were surprised and shot dead
while engaged in splitting rails about six miles south-west of
Meads ille. The treaty made by General Wayne with the west-
ern Indians, August 3, 1795, and ratified the 22d of the follow-
ing December, brought peace to the settlers in North-Western
Pennsylvania, so far as Indian hostilities were concerned.

With the cessation of these de))redations was inaugurated a
pc.'riod of substantial growth, and improvements of a permanent
character were comrnencdl. Roads were laid out and more
comfortable houses built, and st'lthis who had previously been
deterred by the unsettled condition of the country, came in
large numbers. A saw mill, the construction of which had



68 MEAD.

been commenced some time before, was completed in 1789.
Among the settlers, who moved in about this time was Wm.
Williams, who came from Perry county, through the woods,
with a wagon drawn by a span of horses^, in 1796, and located
near the State road in the northern part of the township.
Nearly two months were consumed in making the journey, and
for several days he was followed by a panther. He cleared his
farm and lived upon it the remainder of his days. James De
France came from Lycoming county the same year, to the
south-eastern part of the township, and took up one hundred
acres and purchased fifty more of the Holland Land Company.
After a residence there of several years, he removed to Mercer
county. Daniel Holton come from Rhode Island in 1796, and
located at Meadville. In 1815, he removed to Union tow-nship.
Samuel Hobbs tind James Hunter came in 1799. Hobbs was
from Vermont and located at Meadville. After a year or two
he married and took up a farm in the northern part of the
township. Hunter was from Logan's Ferry, Allegheny county,
and settled in the central part. During the first night after
his arrival he was awakened by his dog — his only companion —
and discovered near the fire he had kindled a bear, which he
shot. This, with a deer he shot about daylight, furnished him
with plenty of meat for some time. He cleared a part of his
land, put in some crops and made some other improvements,
when he returned to his former home, where he married in
April 1801. He returned here with his wife the following
month. David Thurston came from New Jersey, in 1800, and
settled in the south-east part of the township, where he took
up a farm on which he resided till his death. Peter Kinney
and James McDill settled in tiie same locality about the same
time. Kinney was a native of Ireland, and settled upon the
farm on which one of his sons still resides. McDill was a Revo-
lutionary soldier and was accustomed to ride to Meadville upon
an ox to draw his pension. The same ox served to carry his
wife to meeting, som times a distance of several miles. Bariah
Battles settled upon the site of Frenchtown, in 1800, and lived
there for many years, finally removing to Oliio. He was a car-
penter and found employment at his trade in finishing log
houses. A little later Joseph Baird settled in the southern
part of the township.

Meadville was laid out in 1795, and in 1800, upon the erec-
tion of the county, was made the county seat. In 1802 an act
was passed incorporating a seminary of learning, and David
Mead and six others were appointed trustees. In the fall of
1805, a one story brick building, containing two rooms, was
completed, in the extreme eastern part of the village, an^ in



1

MEAD. 69 I

this was opened, the same year, the Meadville Academy, under
the supervision of Eev. Joseph Stockton, who, in addition to
ail extensive scientific course, taught Latin and Greek. The
hiiilding stood about twenty years, when it was removed by
Arthur Cullum, w^ho had purchased the lot, to make room for
a dwelling house.

St. PauVs Reformed Church, in Meadville, was organized in 1800, with
forty-nine members, by Rev. L. D. Leberman. The present church edi-
fice was erected in 1856, at a cost of $12,000, the present value of Church

property, and will seat 600 persons. The first pastor was Rev.

Eblinghous ; the present one is Rev. D. D. Lebenman. The present num-
ber of members is 140. — [^Information furnished by Mr. J. L. Lebercman.

The First Presbytej^m Church of Meadville, (O. S.) was organized in 1800,
by the Presbytery of Erie. The first house of worship was erected in
1818 ; the present one, which will seat 600 persons, in 1874, at a cost
of $40,000. Rev. Joseph Stockton was the first pastor, and Rev. J. Gor-
don Carnachan, our informant, is the present one. The Society numbers
265, and its property is valued at $60,000.

Mec(£s Corners Baptist Church was organized about 1820, with fourteen
members, by Mr. Ju-tin Dewey. Their house of worship was erected in
1840, at a cost of $1000, one-half of the present value of Church property.
It will seat 200 persons. The first pastor was Eider Enos Stewart ; the
present one is Rev. David J. Williams, our informant. The Church con-
sists of eighty-four members.

The First M. E. Church of Meadville, was organized with twenty mem-
bers, in 1825, by Rev. R. C. Hattou, and erected their first house of wor-
ship in 1830. The present edifice, which will seat 1,500 persons, was
erected in 1866, at a cost of $95,000, the present value of Church prop-
erty. The first pastor was Rev. J. W. Hill, the present one is Rev. VV.
W. Wythe, our informant. The Society consists of 463 members.

Christ Church, (Protestant Episcopal,) at Meadville, was organized with
thirty-four members, by members of the Protestant Episcopal Church,
assisted by Rev. (afterwards Bishop,) J. Hopkins, in 1825, and their
church edifice, which will seat 500 persons, w^as erected the following

year, at a cost of $8,000. The first pastor was Rev. Miller. Rev.

\Vm. G. W. Lewis, our informant, is the present one. The Church num-
bers 140, and its property is valued at $15,000.

Tlie First Tndejwndeni Society, (Unitarian,) at Meadville, was organized
in 1^(30, by H. J. Huidekoper, A. CuHum and others. Their church edi-
fice was erected in 1832, at a cost of $5,000. It will seat 500 persons.
The first pastor was Rev. E. Peabody ; but at present the pulpit is un-
occupied. The Society numbers fifty ; its pr()i)erty is valued at $20,000.
— [Information furnis/ied by Mr. A. A. Liver more.

The First Baptist Church of Meadville, was orminized with sixteen mem-
bers, in 1831, by Rev. Foote and a council of churches, and in 1833

was erected their first house of worshij). The present edifice, which will
seat 400 jKTsons, was l»uill in 184:5-5, and lias recently been repaired and
an organ adiled to its attractions. The S(»ci('ty, which compri.ses 2(55 mem-
bers, is under the pa.storal care of Elder Wm. B. Grow, our informant.
The first pastor was Elder Adrian Foote.

i^^ Ffjp})f)lj/fus Church, (Roman Catholic;,) at Frenchtown, was organized
by Bislujp Kanrick, in 1834, in which year was erected their first hoube of
E



70 MEAD— NORTH SHENANGO.

worship. The first pastor was Rev. M. A. DeLaroque : the present one is
Rev. Eugene Cogneville, our informant. Their present house was erected
in 186H, at a cost of about $2,500, about one-half the present value of
Church property. It will seat 250 persons. There are about 500 members.

The Second Presbyterian Cliurch at Meadville, was organized in 1839,
with Rev. E. W. Kellogg as the first pastor, and erected their house of
worship, which will seat 500 persons, in 1843, at a cost of Sl5,000.
There are 290 members, who are under the spiritual tutelage of Rev. R.
Craighead. The Church property is valued at .|20,000.

State Street If. E. Church, at IVIeadville, was organized in June, 1869,
and their house of worship, which will seat 400 persons, erected in that
year and the one following. The first pastor was Rev. T. P. Warner ;
the present one is Rev. J. S. Albertson, our informant. The Society num-
bers 150 ; its property is valued at $9,000.

Pine Grave 31. E. Church was organized at a very early day, but in what
year we are not advised. The church edifice, which is situated six miles east
of Meadville, and will seat about 300 persons, was erected in 1858, at a cost
of about $1000. The Society, numbering eighteen, is ministered to by
Rev. John Abbott, and the property is valued at about $1,500, — [^Informa-
tion furnisfced l>y Mr. Francis Brawley.

The African M. E. Chvrch, at Meadville, was organized with five mem-
bers, by Jacob Palmer, the first pastor, but in what year we are not ad-
vised. Their house of worship will seat 270 persons. Its original cost
was $500. It was repaired in 1867, and the property of the Church is valued
at $3,000. There are fifty-two members. The pastor is Rev. J. Morris.
— 'yinforination furnished hy Mr. Richard Henderson.

The State Boad M. E. Church erected theii' first meeting house about
1824, and the present one, which is located on the State road, four miles
north-east of Meadville, and will seat about 400 persons, in 1847, at a cost
of about $1,500. The Societj^ numbers about sixty, and its property is
valued at about $2,000. — ilrfarmation furnisTted hy Mr. Atlian A. Williams.

St. Bride's Catholic Church. — We have been unable to obtain any data
relative to this Church, or the German Lutlieran.

NORTH SHENANGO was formed together with South
and West Shenango in 1811. It lies upon the west border of
the county, south of the center, and contains 15,865 square
acres. It is watered by Shenango Creek and several small
streams flowing into it, the principal of which is Bennett's Run,
which drains the central portion, flowing north-west. She-
nango Creek enters the township from Sadsbury, near the south-
east corner, and flowing in a north-westerly direction through
Pymatuuing Swamp, which impinges on the north border, forms
the major portion of the north boundary, when it deflects to the
south-west, crossing the line in its course into Ohio a short
distance, when it again enters the township and finally leaves
it in the south-west corner. The surface is level, and the soil of
good quality, producing excellent crops. That part of the
township in the north, covered by swamps, is but little cleared, |
while the southern part is in a good state of cultivation. The i



IfOR TH SEEN A NGO. 71



inhabitants, though chiefly engaged in dairying and stock rais-
ins^ give some attention to lumbering.

The Erie& Pittsburgh R. R. passes through the central part
of the township.

The population in 1870 was 901, of whom 866 were native,
35, foreign, 898, white and three, colored.

During the year ending June 3, 1872, the township con-
tained seven schools and employed fifteen teachers. Tlie num-
ber of scholars was 301 ; the average number attending school,
189; and the amount expended for school purposes, 81,390.15.

EsPYViLLE, (]). 0.) situated in the western part, about one
mile from the E. & P. R. R., contains a church, store, school
house, wagon shop, shoe shop, paint shop, three blacksmith
shops, a sawmill and about twenty dwellings. It derives its
name from George Espy, an early settler there.

D. <k J. F. Pattoii's Steam Saw Mill, located at Espyville
station, gives employment to twelve persons and cuts about
600,000 feet of lumber, 1,500,000 shingles and 500,000 lath per
annum.

STEWARTSViLLE,(North Shenango p. o.) is situated on Bennetts
Run, in the eastern part of the township.

Indications that the country embraced within the limits of
this township was occupied by a race of people versed in the
arts of civilization, at a period long anterior to the advent of
the present inhabitants, are found in the remains of fortifica-
tions and relics of an early period exhumed in their vicinity;
but whether these evidences are referable to the operations of the
French in this locality, or to a period anterior to their occu-
pancy can at present only be conjectured. These forts,
which are circular in form, are located on Shenango Creek,
about one-fourth of a mile apart, and each covers an area of
half an acre to an acre. The outlines of two of them are still



Online LibraryHamilton ChildGazetteer and business directory of Crawford County, Pa., for 1874 → online text (page 8 of 48)