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Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 61 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Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 61 of 192)
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Taylor's farm. The northern portion of the
township held its first school in the cabins of
the pioneers . A large schoolhouse stood in
Edinboro in 1821, and had been erected years
previous. It was used for both educational
and religious purposes. A schoolhouse was
built at an early date on the Perry farm, east
of Edinboro.

The factories and mills of Washington
township are as follows : A steam sawmill
and shingle and lath factory, north of McLane ;
a cheese factory on the Crane road, about two
and a half miles northwest of Edinboro ; a
creamery and a butter and cheese factory at
McLallen's Corners ; a saw and feedmill near
Draketown; a saw, planing, lath and shingle
mill about three-fourths of a mile south of
Edinboro ; a sawmill further south; a factory
on the Kinter road ; a cider and jell mill west
of Edinboro, and a general lumber cutting
mill at McLallen's Corners.

[See Edinboro for list of public men.]



Edinboro was incorporated as a borough
by act of the Legislature in 1840, and includes
some 500 acres of high, gravelly land at the
foot of Lake Conneauttee, twenty miles south
of Erie, seven miles north of Cambridge, and
two miles north of the Crawford county line.
The valley of the Conneauttee is about a mile
wide at this point, and the country around the



borough is one of the finest sections of Erie
county. The corporate limits, which cover a
portion of the hike, are about a mile from
north to south, and about two-thirds of a mile
from east to west. The population was 282
in 1840, 863 in 1850, 474 in 1860, 801 in 1870,
876 in 1880 and 1,107 in 1890. Wm. Kelli-
son was the first Burgess.

The third gristmill in Erie county — one
each having been previously built at Union
and Walnut creek — was erected on the outlet
of Lake Conneauttee, nearly on the site of
the present mill, in 1801, by William Culbert-
son, who added a sawmill in 1802. The
property fell into the hands of Isaac R. Tay-
lor and James Reeder some forty years ago,
who built new mills. The establishment of
the mills may be said to have laid the founda-
tion of the town. By degrees a number of
houses sprung up around them, and Mr. Cul-
bertson finally concluded to survey the site
into lots. The sawmill has gone down, but
the gristmill remains. The borough contains
a cheese factory, established in 1868, and three
hotels. The old Robinson House was built
in 1848, on the site of a hotel that burned
down. The Butler House and Biggers House
are of comparatively recent date.


A Presbyterian congregation was organ-
ized in Edinboro prior to 1810, but the present
one dates from 1829. A building was erected
in 1836, being the first church edifice in the
place. In 1837 or '38, the denomination split
into Old and New School. The New School
branch put up a building in 1854, and the en-
suing year the Old School branch also con-
structed one. On the Union of the two
branches one building served their purpose,
and the Old School building was sold to the
Baptist congregation.

The latter body was organized about 1838,
and held services in the schoolhouse until
1871, when the building above stated was

The Methodist Episcopal society was or-
ganized about 1829, and put up a church
building in 1838. This was sold for a Town
House, and the present building erected
in 1863.

The Advent Christian Church was organ-
ized in 1863, though irregular services of the

denomination had been held for twentj' years
or more. The building was erected in 1864.

The old cemetery of the borough was a
gift for the purpose from Wm. Culbertson.
It has been in use about eighty years. The
new cemetery, established two or three years
ago, is much larger than the first one.



In 1855, Edinboro boasted of three news-
papers — the A'alive American^ a monthly,
and the Gem and Museum, weeklies. The
Amative American and Gem died in 1856, and
the Micscum was moved to Waterford. Henry
Lick established the Expi-ess in 1859, which
lived until December 29, 1860. The Edinboro
Independent was started in February, 1880,
by the Cobb brothers. It is now published
by Chas. Cooper. The Conneauttee Wave
was started in June, 1893. It is owned by
the Wave Publishing Co., with A. F. Moses
as editor and W. J. Britton as assistant.

The post route to Erie and the postoffice at
Edinboro were established in 1837- Dr.
Stranahan was the first postmaster.

Oasis Lodge No. 417, F. & A. M., was
chartered March 4, 1868. Its hall was dedica-
ted on the 12th of October, 1875.

The charter of Edinboro Lodge No. 80,
A. O. U. W., was granted September 10,

The Edinboro Fair Association holds an-
nual exhibitions, which are among the most
successful in the county.

The new school building of the borough
was erected in 1894, and dedicated March 4,


The most conspicuous institution in Edin-
boro, and the one which has contributed most
to its advancement, is the Normal School.
The original Normal School structure was built
by subscription in 1856, at a cost of $3,200, and
used as an academy in 1857-59. Owing to
the large attendance of scholars, two addition-
al buildings, known as the Assembly Hall
and the Ladies' Boarding Hall, were erected
in 1858, at an outlay of !i!ll,000, also raised
by subscription. During the winter of 1859-
60, $10,000 more were collected, and in I860 a
fourth building was erected, known as the
Gentlemen's Boarding Hall. On January 26,



1861, the institution was formally recognized
by the State Superintendent as a State Nor-
mal School, since when it has been steadily
enlarged and improved. The last State re-
port inventoried the school as follows : Build-
ings, $150,000 ; furniture, $10,000 ; libraries,
$6,000; musical instruments, $5,000; appara-
tus, $4,000 ; other property, $2,000; making
a total of $177,000. Prof. J. A. Cooper, who
went to the school as an assistant in 1861, was
made principal in 1863. He was displaced
February 5, 1892, and Prof. Martin G. Bene-
dict was chosen to the position on the 24th of
February in the same year. A long and cost-
ly series of lawsuits ensued, and much bad
feeling grew out of the controversy, which,
for the welfare of the school and the town, it
is to be hoped may soon pass away.


The following is a list of the public officers
furnished by Edinboro and Washmgton town-

ship : Auditors, Russell Stancliff, 1884 to
1837; James H. Campbell, 1845 to 1848;
Samuel Reeder, 1851 to 1853 ; John W. Camp-
bell, 1856 to 1859; J. J. McWilliams, 1857 to
'90. County Commissioners, Russell Stan-
clifF, 1840to 1843 ; William Campbell, 1846
to 1849 ; Josiah J. Compton. 1855 to 1858.
Treasurer, Mortimer Phelps, 1855 to 1857.
Protho'iotary, C. P. Rogers, 1866 to 1869.
Assembly, John W.Campbell, 1859; E. C.
TwiclK-11. '|S('il'-(i3; Chauncey P. Rogers,
1872; !•:. II. Wilcox, 1873-74 and 1895-96.
Jury Commissioner, elected in 1891, and Di-
rector of the Poor, elected in 1894, H. H.
McLallen. Sealer of Weights and Measures,
Wm. P. Butferfield, appointed in 1883.

George A. Allen, the prominent Erie at-
torney, and W. P Clough, a leading attorney
of St. Paul, Minn., and long identified with
important railroad systems in the North-West,
were at one period residents of Edinboro.



established by the act for the organ-
ization of Erie county. The boimd-
ary lines are nearly the same as
when the township was formed, the
only exceptions being a small district aimexed
from Washington; and another from Summit.
The latter is the jog or handle in the north-
west, which has been at various times in Mc-
Kean, Greene and Summit, and was finally
attached to Waterford through the exertions
of Capt. Alartin Strong, who wished to close
his life in the township of his original resi-
dence in the county.

Waterford is bounded on the north by
Summit and Greene ; on the east by Amity
and Union ; on the soutli by LeBoeuf and
Washington, and on the west by Washington
and McKean. The greatest breadth of the

township from north to south is five and three-
fourths miles, and the greatest width from
east to west nine and one-half miles. Its popu-
lation was 579 in 1820, 1,006 in 1830, 1,144 in
lS40i 1,545 in 1850, 1,950 in 1860, 1,884 in
1870, 1,822 in 1880, and 1,537 in 1890. The
township is divided into two election pre-
cincts, known as the east and west districts,
and contains one postoffice, that of Juva, at
Newman's bridge. Most of the mail is sent
and received through the office at Waterford
borough, which place is also the principal
marketing point of the township.





The best valley lands in Waterford town-
ship lie below lake LeBtEuf, along its outlet.
They are level and very fertile, and have an


average width between the ridges of perhaps a
mile and a half. Above the lake the flats range
from one to two miles in width, and the land
is of a good quality, but a great deal of it is
swampy, though being gradually drained.
Good valleys also exist along Benson, Boyd
and Trout runs. The valley of French creek
becomes narrow as it courses through Water-
ford township, not reaching more than half a
mile in the widest place.

Aside from the valleys, which embrace
but a small portion of the township, the bal-
ance of the land is hilly, though almost every
part is capable of cultivation. The hill farms
have a clay soil, and are more free from frosts
than the valleys. The hills rise in some places
to a considerable height, the loftiest elevations
being at Strong's, in the northwest ; I. Y.
Lunger's, in the south ; Robert Hood's, in the
east; and at Oak hill and Cottrell's hill, in the
southeast. A good deal of timber is still left
in the township. The price of land ranges
from thirty to $100, being most valuable in
the vicinity of the borough.

The Tenth Donation District commenced
in Waterford township about a mile east of
the borough, and extended across Amity and
Wayne townships to the Warren county line.

The Reserved Tract was a body of 1,800
acres in Waterford township, and 400 in Le-
Boeuf, all lying south of the borough, which
was set apart from the operation of the general
settlement law for reasons elsewhere given. An
act was passed in 1799 authorizing the land to
be sold. The first sale took place in 1800, and
most of the tract was disposed of by 1804.

In 1856, during the construction of the
Philadelphia and Erie R. R., a troublesome
sink-hole was encountered on the Benson
farm, about a mile northeast of Waterford
borough. Tamarack swamp is about two
miles long by 100 rods wide. About two-
thirds of the swamp are in Waterford and the
balance in McKean. The swamp is being
ditched and drained, and will ultimately be
one of the richest parts of the county.


The chief streams of Waterford township
are French creek, which flows through its
southeast corner for about three miles, from
Amity to LeBceuf ; the outlet of Lake
Pleasant, which courses for about a mile
through its northeast corner, from Venan-

go to Amity; and LeBoeuf creek with its
branches. LeBoeuf creek — known to the
French as the River aux Boeufs, and named
by them from the number of cattle discovered
on the flats below Waterford — runs through
the center of the township from Greene on the
north to LeBoeuf township on the south,
where it joins French creek. It has two main
branches, one rising on the edge of Greene
and Venango, and the other in Summit,
which unite near the Greene and Waterford
boundary, almost at the Philadelphia and Erie
R. R. bridge. Just below Waterford borough
the creek enters Lake LeBoeuf, and after
leaving it is generally known by the name of
" The Outlet." Its length in the township is
not far from ten miles, and its total length
about twenty. Boyd run and Trout run rise
in the west part of the township, and empty
into Lake LeBoeuf on its north side, the first
being about five and the second about two
miles in length. Trout run is formed by the
junction of Black run and Bagdad run, the
one rising in Tamarack swamp and the other
in the extreme western part of the township,
the two uniting just west of the borough.
Benson run, after a course of some two miles,
falls into LeBanif creek near the old Brother-
ton mill. Davis run empties into French
creek near the Newman bridge, and Moravi-
an run joins the same stream in LeBoeuf town-
ship. The first stream rises near the Colt's
Station road, and is about four miles long.
The second has its head in the Ormsbee set-
tlement, and a length in Waterford of per-
haps two miles. The valleys of Benson run
and Moravian run form the route by which
the Philadelphia and Erie R. R. crosses from
LeBoeuf creek to French creek.

Lake LeBoeuf is about two-thirds of a mile
long by half a mile wide, with an almost
round island near its center. It receives Le-
Boeuf creek and Boyd and Trout runs, and
its outflow is apparently greater than its in-
flow, from which it is surmised that the lake
must be fed by springs in the bottom.

French creek and the outlet of Lake Pleas-
ant are described in the chapters on Amity,
LeBoeuf and Venango townships and in the
General History of Erie county.


The Free-Will Baptist Church at New-
man's bridge was organized in 1832 or 1833,


but was allowed to go down. It was re-
organized in 1858. Until the erection of the
present house of worship, the congregation
held services in the neighborhood schoolhouses.
The building was erected in 1860, and was
dedicated in December of that year.

Another Free-Will Baptist church is lo-
cated in the northeastern part of the town-
ship. The building was erected in 1877. The
congregation is nearly, if not quite, as old as
the one above named and its history is almost

The Methodist Episcopal Church at Sharp's
Corners was organized in 1838 or 1839. The
church building was erected in 1868.

The Christian congregation at Oak Hill
was organized in 1854. Its house of worship
was erected in 1861.

The Roman Catholic congregation at East
Waterford(or Waterford Station) dates from
the building of the church edifice in 1878.
The congregation is served by the pastors of
the church at Union City. It is known as
St. Cyprian's parish.

Most of the burials take place in the cem-
etery at Waterford borough, although there
are graveyards at each of the above churches,
except the Catholic. The Walker graveyard
is about a mile south of the Greene line. The
Catholics generally inter at Union.


One of the early schools of Waterford
township was held in a building which stood
near the residence of Webster Hunt. School
was taught there by Russell Stancliff about
the year 1806 or 1807. Michael Hare taught
a school about the year 1827, in the south-
eastern part of the township. During the
same year a schoolhouse was put up near the
site of the present Hare schoolhouse, being
probably the first regular building for the
purpose in the township.


Waterford Station, or East Waterford, on
the Philadelphia and Erie R. R., a mile east
of the Diamond in the borough, and eighteen
and one-half miles by railroad from Erie city,
consists of a station building, a hotel and
grocery combined, a cider mill, a schoolhouse,
a Catholic church, about two dozen good
dwellings and a number of shanties for rail-
road employes. The railroad company have

stockyards at this point, and it is one of the
important stations on the line. Many spikes,
bullets, cannon balls and other articles have
been found in the vicinity of the depot, where
the soldiers were encamped during the war of

In the southeast corner of the township,
bordering on LeBa?uf, are several quarries of
sandstone, which have furnished some of the
finest flagging in Northwestern Pennsylvania.
Neither are operated at the time of writing.


The Philadelphia and Erie is the only rail-
road in Waterford township, entering it from
Greene by the valley of LeLoeuf creek, and
passing across into LeBreuf. Its only station
is that of Waterford, or East Waterford, as it
is often called, a mile east of the Diamond in
the borough.

The leading public roads are the old Erie
and Waterford turnpike, the Erie and Water-
ford plank, the Colt's Station, the Waterford
and Wattsburg, the Flats road to Mill Village,
the Waterford and Meadville pike, the old
State road to the Ohio line, the Edinboro and
Waterford., the Waterford and Meadville
plank, the Waterford and McKean, the
Waterford and Union, and the Station road
from the borough to the railroad. Some of
the above-named roads were among the earliest
that were opened in the county. Their his-
tory will be found in the General Chapters
and in the articles relating to Greenfield, Ve-
nango, North East, LeBoeuf, Amity, Wash-
ington, McKean and Union.

The important bridges are as follows :
Over French creek, the Newman covered
bridge, on the Wattsburg and W^aterford road.
Over LeBoeuf creek, the Himrod bridge, on
the cross-road from Greene to the plank road ;
the Benson, near the sink-hole ; the Lattimore,
on the Colt's Station road ; the two of the
Pennsylvania and Erie R.R.,one at the Greene
line and the other near Waterford station;
the Station, on the Station road; the Judson,
on the Flats roads ; the Outlet bridge on
the Meadville pike; and the Brotherton, on the
road leading to Union and Wattsburg.

The mills and factories are: A gristmill
and a sawmill on LeBoeuf creek; two saw-
mills on Boyd's run; a sawmill near the
McKean line ; a cheese factory each at New-



man's bridge, Sharp's corners, Marsh's mill
and the Forest Home (four in all) ; and a
cider-mill each on Oak Hill, at East Water-
ford (or Waterford Station), and just west of
the borough line (three in all). The cheese
factory at Newman's bridge was started in the
spring of 1871.

[For early history, etc., see Waterford
borough ; also General History of the county.]

[see waterford township.]

On' the arrival of the French in North-
western Pennsylvania they found an Indian
village where Waterford now stands, traces
of which remained some fifty years ago. The
first French explorers regarded LeBojuf creek
as the main stream of French creek, and called
both by the same title. At a subsequent
period they changed the name of the main
stream to the river Venango (or Innungah)
by which it had been known to the Indians,
and called the smaller stream LeBoeuf , from
the number of cattle that roamed on the flats
below the lake.

The French took possession of the country
in 1758, their purpose being to establish a
chain of forts between Niagara and New Or-
leans — along the south shore of Lake Erie,
LeBceuf creek, French creek, and the Alle-
gheny, Ohio and Mississippi rivers. That
season they built forts at Presque Isle and
LeBfEuf, now Erie and Waterford. They
also cut a wagon road between the two places,
which is still known as the old French road.
On the 11th of December, LeBoeuf was visited
by George Washington, to protest against the
French invasion of the country. [See Gen-
eral History.]


The French fort LeBceuf is described in
Washington's journal as having been situated
"on the West fork of French creek, near the
water, almost surrounded by the creek and a
small branch of it, which forms a kind of an
island. Four houses comprised the sides; the
bastions were of poles driven into the ground,
standing more than twelve feet above it, and
sharp at the top, with port-holes cut for can-
non and loop-holes for small arms. Eight
six-pounders were mounted on each bastion

and one four-pounder before the gate. In the
bastions were a guard house, chapel, surgeon's
lodgings and commandant's private store."
Tradition claims that Washington camped on
the highland, just south of LeBrouf creek and
the main business portion of the borough.

After the French retreated before the
superior force or prowess of the English, pos-
session of Forts LeBoeuf and Presque Isle was
taken by Maj. Rogers, with a body of English
and Colonial troops, in 1760.

In 1763, by the eloquence and abilitj- of
the celebrated Pontiac, all of the Indian tribes
west of the Alleghanies were united in a
grand confederacy, whose purpose was to fall
upon every English fort on the frontier upon
a given day, and sweep them and their occu-
pants out of existence. The plan was so far
successful that by the middle of summer all
the forts were taken and burned except
Niagara, Pitt, Bedford and Detroit. LeBoeuf
was assaulted on .the 17th of June, and its
block-house fired at night. While the Indians
were dancing around their camp-fire in fiend-
ish glee, momentarily expecting the surrender
of its garrison, the ensign in command and
his handful of men ci-ept through a drain lead-
ing to the creek, and hid themselves in the
swamps until it was safe to venture across the
country. The fort at Presque Isle was taken on
the 22d of June. The drain above spoken of had
its mouth on the side hill just below the house
of Will McKay, and immediately adjoining
the spring which supplies his residence. The
spring is the same that was used by the
French, English and American occupants of
the fort. [See General History of Erie


Up to 1796, the settlement of this section
went on slowly, almost all of the white resi-
dents being hunters and traders with the In-
dians. In 1785, David Watts and William
Miles came on under the auspices of the Com-
monwealth, to survey the Tenth Donation
District, returning to the East on the com-
pletion of their labors. A committee on the
part of the State was sent out in 1790 to ex-
plore the route from French creek to Erie, as
a result of whose labors an appropriation of
$400 was made by the Legislature in 1791 to
improve that stream from Franklin to Water-
ford, and a similar sum for building a road



from LeBcciif to Piesque Isle. The Pennsyl-
vania Population Company was formed
March 8, 1793, and immediately advertised an
offer of 150 acres to each of the first twenty
families who would settle on Fiench creek,
and of 100 acres each to the next forty.

April 8, 1794, an act was approved by the
Governor to lay out towns at Prqsque Isle, Le-
BcEuf and Venango (Franklin), its principal
object being to establish a line of defensive
posts for the frontier. William Irvine, An-
drew Ellicott and Albert Gallatin were ap-
pointed to prepare the plans, and a part of
their mission was to survey a road from Read-
ing to Presque Isle. State troops reached Le-
Boeuf in Ma)', and built a second fort, where
thej' remained until the spiing of 1795.

The American Fort LeBoeuf consisted of
four block-houses surrounded by pickets, with
a six-pounder on the second floor of each build-
ing, and a swivel over each gate. The exact
site of the American fort is a matter of some
dispute, one authority fixing it on the spot
occupied by the old French fort, while some
of the older citizens of Waterford contend that
it was a little to one side, on the west edge of
High street, south of tiie Eagle Hotel.

While the troops were delayed at LeBoeuf
in 1794, Mr. Ellicott laid out a town at that
place, to which the name of Waterford was
given. This was nearly a year previous to the
laying out of Erie by the same gentleman.
The plan made by Mr. Ellicott was confirmed
by the Legislature in 1795. On the 25th of
July, 1796, a sale was advertised to commence
in Philadelphia of lots in Erie, Waterford,
Warren and Franklin. During the same year,
Elliott located the Susquehanna and Water-
ford turnpike, from Curwensville, Clearfield
county, to lake LeBoeuf, by vva}^ of Franklin
and Meadville.

The following prices were paid by the Har-
risburg & Presque Isle Companv for lots in
Waterford, at the public sale held in Carlisle
on the 3d and 4th of August, 1796 :


No. 11 $15

No. 13 16

No. 16 45

No. 17 59

No. 168 20

In 1800, James Naylor was appointed

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 61 of 192)