Benjamin Whitman.

Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r online

. (page 49 of 192)
Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r → online text (page 49 of 192)
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1879. County Treasurer, Joseph W. Swalley
(by appointment), March 10, 1870, to Decem-
ber 23, 1870; Jacob Yeagla, 1872 to 1874;
William C. Hay, 1878 to 1881. County
Commissioners, George Nicholson, 1820-23,
also by appointment from August 6, 1828,


until the ensuing October election ; Isaac
Webster, 1844-47; William W. Eaton, 1856-
59; Myron H. Silverthorn, 1870-75. Direc-
tors of the Poor, Curtis Heidler, 1845-48 ; M.
M. Kelso, 1850-58; Alex. Nicholson, 1857-
60 ; William W. Eaton, 1870-73 ; F. Willis,
1884-87 ; Clerk and Treasurer to the Directors
of the Poor, D. W. INason, 1879 to 1800.
County Surveyor, Robert P. Holliday, 1863
to 1866, and 1869 to 1872 County Auditor,
George Nicholson, 1809, and 1816-19; Dan-
iel Sayre, 1823-26; David H. Chapman, 1827-
30; John T- Swan, 1830-33; Moses Barnett,
1841-44; H. H. Bassler, 1858-62; Jos. W.
Swalley, 1861-64; Oliver P. Ferguson, 18(j5-
68 ; Wm. C. Eaton, 1890. Mercantile Ap-
praisers, Johnston Eaton, 1859; James Mc-
Creary, 1876. Tu'y Commissioner, Noah
Waidley, 1894-9*7. " Steward of the Alms
House, M. H. Silverthorn, January 1, 1892.


The following-named churches are located
in the township : Salem Church of the Evan-
gelical Association, Christian Church, United
Brethren, St. Jacob's Evangelical United, and

.Salem Church is the outgrowth of the
missionary labors of Rev. J. Siebert, whose
labors began in this field in 1833. The house
of worship, located in the eastern part of the
township, was erected about forty years ago.

St. Jacob's Evangelical United Church is
located on the Ridge road about a mile and a
half east of the business part of Fairview bor-
ough. The congregation was organized in
the winter of 1852, and the church was built
about the same time. The first pastor was the
Rev. Michael Kuchler.

The Evangelical Church southwest of
Sterrettania was started in 1884.

The United Brethren Church is upon the
road from Franklin Center to Sterrettania,
five miles soutii of Fairview borough. The
congregation was organized about 1857, and
held meetings for a time in the Van Camp
sckoolhouse. The church building was dedi-
cated February 22, 1880.

The Christian Church is three miles south
of the borough, on the direct road from Girard
to McKean Corners. The congregation was
organized by Rev. Asal Fish, first pastor, in
1835. The building was erected in 1845.

As before stated, the first settlement at the
mouth of Walnut creek was made by Col.
Forster and Mr. Swan, who gave the location
the name of Fairview. John M. Kratz
started a store in 1802, and a log tavern was
kept by Richard Swan, who was followed by
James Dunn. The latter was postmaster in
1822. This was the great point of the town-
ship, till 1824. The elections and military
trainings were held there, and as long as the
stages and travel ran down to the mouth of
the creek, it was rather a lively little village.
The mills fell into the hands of Daniel Lord
in 1829, who changed the name of the place
to Manchester and erected a paper mill. It
burned down and no attempt was ever made
to rebuild it. A Presbyterian congregation
was organized at Manchester in 1806, and a
building erected there in 1810. The place of
worship was removed to Swanville in 1832,
and afterward to West Mill Creek.

Swanville, on the Ridge road, nine miles
west of Erie, and about a third of a mile south
of the Lake Shore R. R., received its name
through John J. Swan, who built the first
house and established the first tavern on the
site. Mr. Swan opened his tavern about 1832,
and soon after another was started by the
Nicholsons. These continued in operation
until 1853-54, when the want of business com-
pelled their closure.

The original Westminster Presbyterian
Church in Mill Creek township was built at
Swanville in 1832, and removed in 1851. This
church is interesting from the fact that Rev.
Johnston Eaton, the first permanent minister of
that denomination in the county, began and
closed his career as its pastor. He came on in
1805, remained for a short time, and returned
in 1806 to stay permanently. The first service
held by Mr. Eaton was in Swan's tavern at the
mouth of Walnut creek. He died on the 17th
of June, 1847, in the seventy-second year of
his age. His wife lived until 1872, when she
departed this life at the age of 93.

As previously stated, the first church build-
ing was erected in Manchester, then known
as Fairview. This was abandoned and a
new building put up in 1882, in Swanville,
which still retained the name of the Fairview
Church. About 1837 the New School element
of the congregation seceded and established a




church in Fairview borough, and in 1845 they
were followed by a number who belonged to
the Old School side. This left the main body
of worshipers in the church in Swanville liv-
ing in the western part of Mill Creek. In
order to have their place of worship more con-
venient, they removed the building in 1851 to a
point oil the Ridge road in Mill Creek town-
ship, where it assumed the name of the West-
minister Church. The building in Swanville
stood where the schoolhouse is now.

Fairview Depot, or Avonia, is the railroad
station of Fairview borough, from which it is
about half a mile north.

Lock Haven, at the mouth of Trout run,
is nothing more than a name. It once had a
woolen-factory and sawmill, but the latter
fell into ruin and the former burned down.

Mayside, once a popular pleasure resort
near the mouth of Walnut creek, was partially
burned some years ago, and the hotel is no
longer kept up.


Two quarries have been opened in Fair-
view, one at Manchester and the other on
Trout run, just below the depot. From the
Manchester quarry, some of the stone were
taken for the locks of the canal. Neither of
the quarries proved of much value, and they
have been abandoned. Most of the stone used
in the township and borough came for a long
time from Howard's quarry in Franklin.

For an account of the Weiss library, an
extract from Mr. Weiss' will, etc., see Mill
Creek township.

[see fairview township].
The borough of Fairview was incorporated
in 1868, covering an area of one mile square,
and including a population at that time of
some 400. It stands on the first rise of the
lake shore plain, twelve miles west of Erie,
a mile and a half south of the lake, and half a
mile from the railroad station. The Ridge
road forms its main street, and Trout run
winds through its limits. The churches of
Fairview are Presbyterian, Methodist Episco-
pal, Lutheran and German Evangelical, the
first being of brick and the others of frame.
Its schools are held in one large two-story
building erected in 1866. The first school-

house in the village was erected some time
prior to 1838. The Monitor house — the only
hotel — has not had license for some years.
Fairview borough had a population of 480 in
1870, 425 in 1880, and 305 in 1890.


The earliest settlers upon the site were the
Messrs. Sturgeon, in honor of whom the place
was long known as Sturgeonville. The first
tavern, a small log building on the bank of
Trout run, along the Ridge road, was built
and kept by William Sturgeon. This was
closed some years when Mr. Sturgeon erected
another tavern near by. The Monitor house
was erected by S. C. Sturgeon. Following
the tavern came a store, a blacksmith shop,

On the death of William Sturgeon, in
1837, he directed that, after the demise of his
wife, some fifty acres of land and twenty town
lots should go to the Presbyterian Church of
Fairview. A congregation was to be organized
and a building erected within one year from
the time specified in the will, otherwise the
property was to be donated to the Presbyte-
rian Board of Publication. In the year of Mr.
Sturgeon's death, the General Assembly of
the church separated into the New School and
Old School. Each side made haste to get up
edifices in time to avail itself of Mr. Sturgeon's
legacy, and the question as to which it be-
longed had to be settled by the Courts. After
a legal tussle, the Court below decided in favor
of the Old School branch, and, on appeal to
the Supreme Court, that body affirmed the
decision. The union of the denomination in
November, 1869, did away with the need of
two buildings, and both branches now worship
together in harmony. The building at present
occupied was built in 1874, and cost .$11,000.
It occupies the same lot on which both the Old
and New School edifices stood during the
days of contention. The first Old School
church in Fairview was replaced by another,
which burned down. The New School build-
ing was removed and is now occupied by the
Evangelical Association.


The Methodist Episcopal Church is the
outgrowth of a class formed in the house of
Justice Osborne in 1817. The first church



edifice was built in 1836 and stood outside of
the village. The second building was erected
in 1854.

Mt. Nabo Church of the Evangelical Asso-
ciation owes its origin to the missionary labors
of Rev. J. Siebert, who began preaching in
Erie county in 1838. The church building of
the society was formerly occupied by the New
School Presbyterians, of whom it was pur-
chased in April, 1872, and moved to its present

The Evangelical Lutheran Church was
organized in 1856. This congregation and the
one at St. Jacob's on the Ridge road were
originally one and the same church society,
but at the date given above became separate
bodies. The Rev. Michael Kuchler became

the first pastor. The first house of v
was built in 1857, on the outskirts
borough, and used until the present one was
erected in 1878.

of the


The Fairview cemetery, on the northwest
edge of the borough, has been in use some
twenty-six years. The first body interred was
that of Mrs. Milton Sturgeon.

Mr.-. Sarah Green died in Fairview at the
extreme age of 104 years. The wife of Casper
Doll was 97 years and 10 days old at the time
of her death.

The manufacturing institutions of the
borough are a planing and sawmill, a cream-
ery, a cider and jell -mill and several shops.



est in the county, was established in
1844 out of portions of McKean, Wash-
ington and Elk Creek, and named after
the printer patriot of the Revolution.
J. P. Silverthorn was the main person in work-
ing for its creation. Franklin is exactly five
miles square. The population was 686 in
1850, 979 in 1860, 994 in 1870, 1,020 in 1880
and 983 in 1890. Franklin is bounded on the
north by Fairview and McKean, on the east
by McKean and Washington, on the south by
Washington and Elk Creek, and on the west
by Girard and Elk Creek. The only village
is Franklin Center. The postoffices are Frank-
lin Corners (Franklin Center), and Ivarea
(Mohawk Mills).

As a rule, the people of Franklin are un-
usually progressive for a rural district, and the
township has improved more, proportionately,
within twenty years, than any other in the
county. The houses and barns are mostly good,
and the citizens are generally free from debt;
in fact, it is a saying that the farms of Frank-

lin have fewer "mortgage blankets" upon
them than any of the surrounding townships.


The remoteness of Franklin township from
the main lines of travel delayed settlements
till a later period than in any other portion of
the county. A few adventurous parties lo-
cated on the State road when it was opened,
about 1802 or 1803, but they all left in a short
time. From that date till 1829, when L. D.
Rouse went in fi'om Connecticut, it cannot be
learned that any permanent settlement was
made, and as late as 1835 the country remained
almost an unbroken forest. During 1832, the
colonists were William and Levi Francis, from
New York ; James P. Silverthorn, from Girard
township; Henry Howard, from Grafton, Vt. ;
and Messrs. Goodban and Longley, from Eng-
land. To these were added, in 1833, Thomas
Spence and Thomas McLaughlin, from Ire-
land ; William Vorse, from Chautauqua
county, New York ; Allen Mead, from Sara-
toga county, New York ; Ezra Milks and his


30 1

son Amos, from Rennselaer county, New
York ; Curtis Cole and father, from Un-
adilla, N. Y. ; and Andrew Proudfit,
from York county, Pennsylvania. Isaac
Fry, from Vermont, and John Tuckey, an
Englishman, took up land in 1834; John Loyer,
from Eastern Pennsylvania, in 1835 ^Levi
Howard, from Vermont, in 1840 ; and James
B. Robinson, from Pompey, N. Y., in 1844.
Levi Silverthorii also went in during 1844, the
year the township was created. John Gilbert
married Elizabeth Gregory in Waterford on
the 22d of January, 1846, and the young
couple immediately settled in Franklin.
Among other early settlers were Messrs. Web-
ster, Huff, Gibson and Perry, all from War-
saw, N. Y.


The township consists of high rolling land,
with few of the ravines and broken ridges
which prevail in other summit townships. The
soil is a clay loam, varied by a few patches of
gravel. Some grain is raised, but the land is
best adapted for grazing and stock-raising.
But little good timber remains. Land varies
in price from ten to thirty dollars an acre.

Being on the top of the hills which have
their bases in Washington, McKean, Fairview.
Girard and Elk Creek, numerous small streams
take their rise in Franklin, and flow into the
creeks of those townships. Those in the north
are all tributary to Elk creek, and those in the
south mainly to the Cussewago, the dividing
ground being about a mile and a half south of
Franklin Center. Falls run, the largest stream
in the township, starts about a mile east of a
cranberry marsh southeast of Franklin Center,
and empties into Elk creek, in Fairview. Be-
low the cascade at Howard's quarry, the
stream winds between steep banks to its junc-
tion with Elk creek. The West branch of the
Conneauttee heads in the same marsh, and,
after a short course within the township,
crosses the line into Washington.

The nearest railroad stations are at Girard
and Fairview for the north, at Albion and
Cranesville, for the west, and at Cambridge
for the south and southeast. The chief pub-
lic thoroughfares are the old State road, ex-
tending across the township from Lockport to
McLane ; the Population road, on the line
between Girard, Elk Creek and Franklin; the
Crane road, from Cranesville to Edinboro ; the

Sterrettania road, from that place to Cusse-
wago, Crawford county, and the quarry
road, from Franklin Center to Fairview.


The mills and factories of Franklin town-
ship are as follows : A creamery each at
Franklin Center and Silverthorn's Corners; a
cheese factory at Population Corners ; a saw-
mill each on the Crane road (known as the Mo-
hawk Mills), and a mile north of Franklin
Center; and a feed-mill in Franklin Center.

There are two stores in Franklin Center,
one at Ivarea, and one at Population Corners.

The small and thinly-settled population
prevented the township from having any early
schools, but it was prompt to take advantage
of the State school law after organization.
The first schoolhouse in Franklin Center was
built about 1840, or perhaps a year or two
earlier. It occupied the site of the present

In Franklin Center is a Union Church,
erected in 1868, at a cost of .$1,500. It is
occupied by the Methodist Episcopal and
German Lutheran congregations. The for-
mer was organized in 1866, and the latter
in 1871.

The Eureka M. E. society, having a church
on the Crane road, has been in existence since
1867. The building was put up two years

The Catholic population generally attend
church in Cussewago, Crawford county.

The main cemetery of the township is at
the Dawley schoolhouse, on the line between
Franklin and Girard townships. The people
in the southeast mostly bury in Edinboro, in
the southwest in Cussewago, and in the north
in Sterrettania and Fairview.


Franklin Center, or Franklin Corners, as
it is called in the postoffice director^-, is on
the State road, eight miles each from Girard,
Fairview and McKean, five from Sterrettania,
and seventeen from Erie. The village was
founded by Oren G. Wood, who started a
store, and induced others to settle around
him. John Tuckey, O. G. Wood and John
Loyer were the original owners of the land.
The village, which is a small but pleasant set-
tlement, is the voting and meeting place of



the township. A mail is received daily from

Franklin, LeBoeuf, McKean and Water-
ford enjoy the distinction of being the only
townships that possess important quarries of
building stone. The Howard quarry, in
Franklin, near the Fairview line, has been
worked for forty years, and furnished the
stone for the courthouse in Erie. This was
for a long period the only quarry in the

township, but in recent years others have
been opened. Oil has been running out of
the rocks at Howard's quarry from the earliest
settlement, and in former times was gathered
to be sold as medicine. Three wells were
put down along Falls run, in confidence that
a larg« deposit of the greasy fluid would be
found, but only a trifling amount was got, and
the projects were abandoned.



GIRARD TOWNSHIP was carved out
of Elk Creek, Fairview and Spring-
field in 1882, receiving its name from
Stephen Girard, the Philadelphia mil-
lionaire, who held a large body of
land in the adjoining township of Conneaut.
The old line between Fairview and Spring-
field ran through tiie township parallel with
the present line dividing Elk Creek and Con-
neaut. Girard township is bounded on the
north by Lake Erie, on the east by Fairview
and Franklin, on the south by Conneaut and
Elk Creek and on the west by Springfield. In
the widest part it is six and a quarter miles
from east to west by seven and three-eighths
from north to south. The population was
2,060 in 1840, 2,443 in 1850, 2,453 in 1860,
2,018 in 1870, 2,338 in 1880 and 2,280 in
1890, inclusive of Miles Grove in the latter
year, which was credited with 570 inhabit-
ants. The villages are Miles Grove and
West Girard, and the postoffices are Miles
Grove, Francis, and Fairplain. The township
is divided on the line of the " Nickel Plate"
R. R. into two election districts — the north
one being known as Miles Grove and the
south one as Girard.


The first settlers within the limits of the
township were William Silverthorn and his

son, Capt. Abraham vSilverthorn, who came
in 1798 from Fayette county. About 1799
Robert Brown located at the mouth of Elk
creek, but in 1804 he moved to Weigleville,
and from there to Erie. These parties were
followed in 1800 by Robert Porter, Isaac Mil-
ler and John Kelley. Mr. Kelley moved to
West Mill Creek in 1802. In 1801 Jacob
Coffman came from Somerset county and
located on the site of Lockport ; and about the
same time Patrick Ward settled on tie Lake
road. Mr. Coffman, who was from Somerset
county, was accompanied by his four sons.
Conrad, one of the boys, went back to Somer-
set county about 1814, married there and did
not return until 1836, when his son J. C. was
a young man of 17. William and Samuel
McClelland and William Crane, natives of
Ireland, took up lands in 1802 ; John Miller,
from Fayette county, the same year ; George
Kelley, from Mifflin county, in 1803 ; Joel
Bradish and brothers, from Saratoga county,
New York, and James Blair, from Fayette
county, in 1804 ; Martin Taylor, from Chau-
tauqua county. New York, in 1813; William
Weljber, from Genesee county. New York, in
1814; Cornelius Haggerty, in 1815; Samuel
Jenner and his son Peach, from Vermont,
Justus Osborn and his son Philip, from Fre-
donia, N. Y., Abner Boder, from Connecticut,
and Scott Keith and wife, from Pittsford,



Vt., in 1816; Elijah Drury, from Genesee
county, New York, in 18l7; Ethan Love-
ridge and Nathan Sherman, from Oneida
county. New York, in 1818; Joseph Long,
from Massachusetts, in 1825 ; Matthew
Anderson, from Chenango county. New
York, in 1830; George Traut, from Columbia
county. New York, in 1831 ; James Miles,
from Union township, and Titus Pettibone,
from Wyoming county. New York, in 1882;
William Kirkland, in 1883, and Joshua Evans
and family from Summit township in 1887.
Among other earl^' settlers, the date of whose
arrival is not ascertained, were Messrs. Tag-
gart, Pickett, Badger, Martin, Wells, Clark,
Laughlin and Wolverton. The last four were
the earliest who located on the site of Girard
borough, Mr. Wells having owned most of the
land embraced within the corporate limits.
James, Isaac and Abraham Silverthorn located
among the first, and Thomas Miles about 1801.
John Ralph kept a tavern at the mouth of Elk
creek in 1804.

John R. Ward was the first male child, and
a daughter of Robert Brown, who married
Geo. A. Eliot, of Erie, the first female child
born in the township. The country does not
appear to have been cleared up very rapidly,
as, according to Mr. Long, there was no road
along Elk creek when he reached there in
1825. Girard township claims the honor of
having had the second oldest person in the
county — Patrick Ward, who died at the age
of 105.

For a sketch of William Miles, the pioneer
of the Miles family, see Union City.


It is generally agreed that the land be-
tween Walnut creek, in Fairview, and Crook-
ed creek, in Springfield, is the best along
Lake Erie, and of this choice section Girard
township is claimed by its citizens to be the
very cream. The lake plain is from three to
four miles wide, running back by a succession
of steps which give a pleasing variety to the
country. Near the lake the soil is sandy, but
on the ridge it becomes gravelly. Back of
Girard borough the land continues to rise, is
much broken, and, except along Elk and
Crooked creeks, where there are some fine
valley farms, is better adapted to grazing than
grain, though this is to be stated with some
notable exceptions. The whole township is a

splendid fruit, grape and berry country. Land
is valued at from $100 to $125 per acre along
the Ridge road, from sixty to $100 along the
Lake road, and from twenty-five to sixty dol-
lars in the south part of the township.

The main thoroughfares are the Lake road,
the Ridge road, the two roads between Miles
Grove and the borough, the road through
Lockport and Cranesville to Meadville, and
the Lexington road into Conneaut township.
The Ridge and Lake roads are thickly settled,
and the first named is one of the finest in the
county, having a row of shade trees on both
sides almost the entire distance from Girard
to Fairview. The stage company had exten-
sive stables at West Girard, which were
burned in January, 1882, with the loss of
fifteen horses. After the opening of the rail-
road in 1852, few persons cared to travel by
coach, and the stage line was soon abandoned.


The Lake Shore R. R. traverses the town-
ship from east to west, crossing Elk creek a
short distance west of Miles Grove. The old
wooden viaduct over this stream, built for the
use of the railroad in 1852, was 115 feet high
and 1,400 feet long. It was replaced in 1858
with a culvert and filling. The only station
of this road is at Miles Grove, or Girard Sta-
tion, as it is more generally known to travelers.

The Erie and Pittsburg R. R. intersects
the Lake Shore almost a mile west of Miles
Grove, running north and south across the
township, parallel to and not far from the
Springfield line. Aside from Miles Grove, it
has but a single station in the township, the
one known as Cross's, at the north end of
Crooked creek bridge. This station is the
depot for the village of East Springfield, from
which it is a mile and a half distant.

The New York, Chicago and St. Louis R.
R. (" Nickel Plate") passes through the town-
ship from east to west, crossing the Elk creek
valley by an iron bridge, within sight from
Girard borough. Its station is between the

Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r → online text (page 49 of 192)