Franklin Ellis.

History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men online

. (page 173 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 173 of 193)
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Joseph W. Gallentine, living on the old Benjamin

Davis farm, in Salt Lick, and of otlier sons living at

John Bailey, a native of Bedford County, Pa., set-
tled on the present Bailey farm, south of Mill Run,
some time after 1800, and died there in 1828. He
reared sons named William, Reiley, and Michael,
and four daughters, who married Henry Hess, James
Imel, Henry Friend, and William M. Kern.

Jacob Murray moved from the eastern country in
1816, and settled on the old Elder farm, but later
made a home on Mill Run, where he died many years
ago. He had a number of sons, viz. : John M., de-
ceased a few years ago; Samuel, also deceased in the
township; and .Jacob, yet living on Mill Run. Three
of his daughters married Peter UUrey, Henry
Fletcher, and Reuben Eicher.

Robert Bigam was another of the early settlers on
lower Mill Run, although his permanent settlement
was not made until 1828. He cleared up a great deal
of the flats, and still, at the age of eighty-seven
years, resides on one of the farms he opened. He is
the father of David and John Bigam, residing on
parts of the homestead at Mill Run, and of George
M. Bigam, a teacher of note at Mount- Pleasant,
Westmoreland Co. The Bigams moved from the
Jersey settlement in Somerset County, where their
ancestors were among the earliest settlers.

Peter Kooser moved from the same county in 1832,
buying the Ketchum mills, which had been built by
Reuben Skinner, on Mill Run. Afterwards he lived
on the Henry Phillippi farm, where he died June 25,
1866, aged seventy-two years. He reared sons named
Elijah, Samuel, John, William, and Alexander, the
latter dying in the United States' service in the Re-
bellion. In 1838, George Dull moved from Somerset
County and settled on the John Harbaugh place at
Mill Run. He was a blacksmith by trade, and served
many years as a justice of the peace. He died Nov.
1, 1880, at the age of seventy-two years. His sons
living in Springfield are Daniel "W., Uriah, Jacob,
William, and John. Romanus died in the army while
a prisoner at Salisbury, N. C, and four of the above
also served their country in the Rebellion. The
daughters of George Dull married David L. Colburn,
Solomon Davis, Hiram C. Sipe, and Alexander
Brooke. The Daniel W. Dull farm was improved by
Martin Williams, who afterwards occupied the Abra-
ham Williams farm, where he died. The William
Dull place was long known as the Peter Sipe farm,
but was first improved by John McCune. Sipe re-
moved to Indiana a few years ago, where he died.
A portion of the old Sipe place is now occupied by
Cyrus B. Sipe, a grandson of Peter, and son of Jacob,
who moved to Somerset County. The Sipes made
some of the finest farm improvements in the town-

The Elder family was in early times largely inter-
ested in real estate in iSpringfield, owning about two
thousand acres of land, a portion of which yet re-


mains in their possession. Clifford Elder, the head
of the family, resided in Somerset County. William
O., the eldest son, was a well-known citizen of Wash-
ington. Other sons were Clifford, Henderson, Sam-
tiel, and Robinson. The latter was the only one to
reside permanently in the township. He was a man
of fine ability, and became celebrated as a lecturer on
temperance. He died in the service of the Union in
the late civil war. One of the daughters of Clifford
Elder was the wife of Dr. Phythian, the first practi-
tioner in the township, and a maiden lady, Eliza, was
a resident of Springfield until 1873.

In the early history of the county three brothers,
Thomas, John, and James Rogers, came from Fred-
erick, Md., and settled at New Haven. Their sister
was married to Col. James Paull, at that time one of
the leading men of Fayette. Thomas and John
Rogers remained citizens of Dunbar, but Maj. James
Rogers, after living some time at the Findley Fur-
nace, settled on Indian Creek, in Springfield, about
1828, and resided there until his death, about 1842.
He superintended the building of the Fayette Fur-
nace for the mining company, which also controlled
about three thousand acres of land, which Maj. Rogers
sold to the settlers. He had nine sons, — John, Wil-
liam, Phineas, Joseph, James, Thomas, George, Dan-
iel, and Erwin. Of these William served in the war
of 1812, and died of disease contracted in the service ;
George is yet living atlronton, Ohio ; and Dr. Joseph
Rogers, after living in Springfield more than two-
score years, actively engaged as a practitioner and
a manufacturer, died March 20, 1876, at the age of
seventy-nine years. In 1831 he was married to Eliz-
abeth Johnston, of Connellsville, who yet resides in
that city. They reared sons, — Dr. James K., who
died after the late war; Dr. Alexander, residing at
Scottdale; John, at the same place; and William D.,
yet residing on the homestead.

George Campbell, a Scotch-Irishman, settled in
Dunbar some time about 1800. His only son, James,
after living in that township a number of years, be-
came a citizen of Springfield, and yet resides there
at the age of seventy years. In 1841 he was associated
with the Messrs. McCormick, Taylor, and Turner in
manufacturing the first coke by the improved system
of burning. At that time two ovens were built on
the site of the old salt-works on the Youghiogheny,
in which coke was successfully burned, and shipped
to Cincinnati by means of flat-boats. The enterprise
proved a failure, so far as these parties were con-
cerned, but was afterwards prosecuted with partial
success by the Cochrans, of Tyrone.

The Pritts family has lived in the township the past
fifty years, and one of its members, Samuel, is up-
wards of eighty-six years of age. Another of the old
citizens of Springfield is Jacob Lichleiter, who came
from Somerset County about thirty years ago. He
lias attained the unusual age of ninety-three years.
The population of tlie township in ISSO was 1714.


Springfield was organized as a separate township
by the Court of Quarter Sessions in December, 1848,
but was not constituted with its present bounds until
November, 1855, when it absorbed what remained of
Youghiogheny township after Stewart was erected.
The orders of the court by which this was effected
appear in the history of the latter township, and in
the history of Salt Lick, of which Springfield was
originally a part, the same being here omitted to avoid

The list of township officers, including those of
Youghiogheny from 1848 till 1855, is as follows :

1848.— Ju:

ices, John Williams, John Harbnugh, and Sylve.ste
■; Assessor, Samuel Murray ; Auditor, Johii B. Tede

1849.— Justice, Robert Wortninn ; Assessor, Absalom Stryers ;
Auditors, Samuel Listun, James Leonard.

1851). — Assessor, Josephus Woodmansee ; Auditor, William

1851. — Assessor, Josephus Woodmansee; Auditor, James Kemp.

1852. — Assessor, George Harbaugh; Auditor, Jacob Tutton.

185:i.— Justice, Sylvester Skinner; Assessor, Abraham Skin-
ner; Auditor, J. S. Woodmansee.

1S54. — Asse.-sor, David Ogg: Auditor, James Morrison.

1855. — Assessor, Robert Wortman.

1851!. — Justices, John Brooks, Daniel Dull; Assessor, Simon
M. Kern ; Auditor, John Senff.

ISo?.— Assessor, John M. Murray; Auditor, William H. Mur-


1858. — Justice, John W. Sherbondy ; Assessor, Leonard Har-
baugh ; Auditor, Joseph Colestock.

1359. — Assessor, Joseph W. Ritenour; Auditor, R. Elder.

1800. — Justice, John Clark; Assessor, Daniel W. Dull; Audi-
tor, James B. Morris.

1861.- Assessor, Robert Wortman; Auditor, Reason Imer.

18H2. — Assessor, Henry King; Auditor, Emanuel Hensil.

1863.- Justice, John W. Sherbondy; Assessor, J. H. Miller;
Auditor, J,ames F. Imel.

lS5t. — Assessor, George K. Murray; Auditor, John Brooks.

ISCiD.— Justice, J. W. C. Brooks; Assessor, Solomon Davis:
Auditor, J. A. C. Murray.

1866.— Assessor, David B. Morris; Auditor, J. W. Morris.

ISC)?. — .Iiisti.'f, Christopher Smultz; Assessor, A. S. Skinner;, 11,-nry ( 'liohlicld.

1868.— JusticL-, .lusiah II. Miller; Assessor, J. C. Gorlet; Au-
ditor, A. H. McCoy.

1869.— Assessor, Daniel W. Dull; Auditor, John Kern.

1869, October.— Justice, George Dull : Auditor, Jacob M. Mur-

1S7II. — Assessor, Jacob M. Murray: Auditor, J. B. Morris.

1S72. — Assessor, J. B. Morris; Auditor, John Kern.

1873. — Justice, Josiah H. Miller; Assessor, M. H. King; Au-
ditor, Jacob M. Murray. "^

1874.— Assessor, J. W. K. Solomon; Auditor, .'^. W. Bailey.

1875.— Justice, Lewis Hunter; Assessor, Martin Hope.

1876. — Assessor, H. H. Livingston; Auditor, B. A. Lanehill.

1877. — Assessor, Abraham Friend; Auditor, Jacob M. Murray.

1878.— Justice, Henry Crichfield ; Assessor, John Imel; Audi-
tor, J. B. Morris.

1879. — Assessor, Emanuel Hensil; Auditor, John Kern.

I^sn. — Justice, George Deed; Assessor, Emanuel Hensil; Au-
ditor, J. n. Miller.



I )ne of the oldest roads in Springfield is popularly
known as the " Turkey Foot" road, from the fact that
it led through that important settlement in Somerset
County on its route to Pittsburgh. It is also known
as Smith's road, from one of the commissioners who
located it. The road followed in a general way the
blazed path of Oliver Drake and William Rush, along
which Capt. Harris drove his cattle to the mouth of
Mill Run, thence across the hills to the clay pike,
near Springfield village, from which it bore to the
northwest across Chestnut Ridge to Mounts' Creek,
which was crossed at Andrews' (now Long's) Mill ;
then northwest across Bullskin to Jacob's- Creek, in
Tyrone, intersecting Braddock's road near the old
chain bridge. It was several miles shorter than Brad-
dock's road, and was by some preferred on that ac-
count when the other road was rough, not naturally
being as good a road as the former. After the Na-
tional road was located it was of little importance,
and much of its ooursi^ long since been effaced,
retaining only I'miii >[ill Kun northward much sem-
blance of its ori-inal ruui>e~. The most important
highway in the township is tlie " clay pike," so called
because it has been graded but never piked with
stones. Its course through Springfield is nearly east
and west north of the centre of the township, varying
only to get an easier ascent of Laurel Hill. It was
surveyed in 1810, but was not completed until about
1820. The survey divided the road into quarter-mile
sections, a post being set up at such intervals. These
sections were in charge of different contractors, among
the builders being Dr. Joseph Rogers, Solomon Kern,
and Jolin Williams. The road became the great
thoroughfare for the passage of live-stock from Ohio
and Kentucky to the East, and immense droves of
horses, mules, cattle, sheep, and hogs were almost i
constantly trudging along its course, often more than
a hundred per week passing through Springfield. ,
Consequently many stock-taverns sprung up along [
the road, some of them having large barns, having
stabling capacity for fifty horses, at which the farmers
found a ready market for their products. Among the
chief drovers' inns were those kept by John Resler,
Peter Eicher, Solomon Kern, Samuel Long, Charles
King, Mary Taylor, James Crichfield, Henry Garlets,
John Prinkey, Thaddeus Aughenbach, and Adam
Dietz. After the Pennsylvania Railroad was com-
pleted the droves diminished in number, but the road
was considerably used for this purpose until the Balti-
more and Ohio Railroad was built along the Youghio-
gheny in 1871. This railway has stations at Stewarton
and Hampton, in Springfield township.

It is stated on good authority that Reuben Skinner
was the first person in the township to employ water-
power to operate machinery for milling purposes.
Some time after tlio RevohitioM he built a small irrist-

mill on Mill Run, on the present Elijah Kooser place,
which had one run of stones and rude machinery. A
saw-mill was put in operation at a later day. From
Skinner the mill passed to Jacob Ketchum, thence to
Peter Kooser, thence to L. D. Wilgus, and from him
to Elijah Kooser. The reconstructed grist-mill had
two runs of stones and a fair grinding capacity, and
although the mill remains, it has not been running
the past few years. The saw-mill is yet kejjt in mo-

The second mill in the township was built by a
man named Van Trice, on Resler's Run, and was a
very small affair, the capacity being only seven
bushels per day. Daniel Resler subsequently owned
the mill, and at later periods the waters of that stream
operated saw-mills for John Resler, Josiah Miller, and
Maxwell Clark.

On Mill Run, below the old Skinner mill, John
Harbaugh built a saw-mill thirty years ago, which is-
at present owned and operated by James Russell.
Yet farther below, George Dull put in operation a.
saw-mill in 1841, which has had as subsequent owners
Daniel Shearer, John A. McBeth and Daniel Dear-
born, Bradford & Co., and the present Dr. Gallagher.
The capacity is small. Near the mouth of this stream
Wm. R. Turner had a saw-mill some time about 1830,.
to which was added a run of stones for grinding pur-
poses. The latter were soon removed, but the saw-
mill was kept in operation a number of years longer,,
when it was allowed to go down. Turner also had a
saw-mill on Indian Creek, near the site of Hampden
Forge, which was discontinued after that enterprise
was abandoned. Several miles from the mouth of
Mill Run, John and Elijah Kooser erected a grist-
mill in 1851, which is yet operated by John Kooser.
The mill-house is a four-story frame, thirty-six by
forty-eight feet, and is supplied with three runs of
stones. The power was secured by digging a race
sixty rods long, whereby a fall of twenty-five feet w:is
secured. The motor is an eighteen-foot overshot wheeL
The mill has a large patronage.

In the northern part of the township, on Indian
Creek, the Rogers family has had in operation a small
grist-mill since 1832, which has been repaired several
times and is now accounted a good mill. The saw-
mill at this place was built about 1866 by Wm. D..
Rogers, and is yet carried on by him. It has a good
cutting capacity.

On Stony Run a water-power was improved about
1820 to operate a carding-machine for Solomon Kern.
It was continued about ten years, when the machinery
was removed, but the saw-mill which had been built
here meantime was operated a few years longer. In
1S37, James Campbell built another saw-mill on that
site, which he carried on about five years, when, after
having many owners, it was allowed to go down.
Near the same time the Brooks family had a mill on
the same stream, three-quarters of a mile above,,
which was carried on about ten vears. Other mills



have been operated on Poplar Run and on the Mid-
dle Fork, all of them having a limited capacity ;
while a number of portable steam saw-mills have
been operated for short periods in various localities,
of which no account is made here. The shipment of
native lumber has been carried on quite extensively
the past few years by John J. McFarland, much of
the timber shipped being destined for European mar-
kets for use in ship-building and fine cooper-work.
Locust and oak constitute the bulk of the shipments
from the several stations on the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad in Springfield.

The mountain forests furnish a good supply of
bark for tanning purposes, and that industry has for
many years held a leading place in the township.
At Springfield village, John Crossland began tanning
leather in a small way, having half a dozen vats,
about 1839, and carrying on the business seven or
eight years. He was followed by Alexander John-
ston, who enlarged the taijnery and made other
changes. About 1850, Alfred Cooper became the
owner of the property, and while belonging to him
the tannery was rebuilt, the number of vats being
increased to thirty. He sold it to Schallenbarger &
McBeth, and subsequently it was owned by John A.
McBeth alone. He still further enlarged the tannery,
and was the last to operate it, about 1875. It is a
large and well-appointed building, with an engine-
room attached, and spacious bark shed adjacent. The
capacity was 3000 hides per year, tanned into sole
and harness leather, which had a most excellent
reputation in the markets of the East.

When the tannery was first carried on horse-power
was employed, but under the ownership of John A.
McBeth steam was supplied, the boiler having a
very much larger capacity than the engine. In
1863 an explosion occurred which wrecked the build-
ing, and which would undoubtedly have resulted dis-
astrously to the lives of the workmen but for the
fortunate fact that they had left the tannery to eat
their dinners just a short time before. The ends of
the boiler were blown through the smoke-stack, carry-
ing with them heavy timbers in their course. The
engine was taken up bodily and hurled more than
one hundred and fifty yards from its bed, half bury-
ing itself in the earth in a semi-upright position in a
garden near the tannery. The shock was felt in the
entire neighborhood, and the accident was the theme
of conversation for many days.

At Mill Run a tannery was built in 1861 by Daniel
Shearer, which is yet in successful operation under
the management of Lewis Marietta, as lessee for the
proprietor. Dr. Gallagher. There are about thirty
vats, .capacitating the tannery to handle two thousand
five hundred hides per year. The product is harness-
and belting-leather, tanned with rock and chestnut-
oak bark. About ten years ago steam was introduced,
and is used in connection with water-power. Em-
ployment is given to from six to ten men. The saw-

I mill at this point belongs to the tannery property,
and both have had the same ownership.

The distillation of liquor was engaged in by many
persons in the early days of the township, among

I the chief distilleries being those carried on by Willits
Skinner, John Prinkey, and on the Nutt farm by a

! man named Davi.s. But the manufacture of iron was
a pioneer interest, compared with which all others

1 were of secondary importance. The ores of Spring-

1 field are very rich, yielding a large percentage of ex-
cellent iron, with sufficient limestone therein to flux
the metal. They are usually found in beds of shale,
holding the place of the upper Kittanning limestone
of the Johnstown cement-beds. The metal has been
found superior for foundry purposes, and only the in-
accessibility of the mines has prevented the general
development of this great mineral wealth. Years
ago, when the Youghiogheny River was regarded as
a possible channel for the shipment of the products,
a forge was built on Indian Creek about half a mile
above its mouth, the watys of that stream being used
to operate it. It was generally known as Hampden
Forge, and the owners, when it was first operated,
about 1810, were Reuben Mockabee and Samuel
Wurtz. The latter subsequently was the sole owner.
It was kept in operation until some time after 1830.
Considerable bar and other iron was wrought, which
wa.s carried down the river by means of flat-boats.
The raw material was brought from the Laurel Fur-
nace, in Dunbar, and the St. John Furnace, on In-
dian Creek, several miles above the forge. The latter
was built on the eastern base of the Chestnut Ridge,
and apparently in au almost inaccessible ]>lace. But
the ore could be easily procured, and it was believed
that flat-boats might descend Indian Creek many
months of the year, a calculation which was soon
demonstrated to be erroneous, and which ultimately
caused the enterprise to be abandoned. St. John

j Furnace was built about 1807, by Jackson & Gibson,

[ but in a few years became the property of Col. James
Paull. It was operated by different parties as lessees,
the last by Dougherty & Steele, who blew it out of
blast in 1828. While it was in operation that locality

' was the scene of bustling activity, a large number of

! men being employed, and a public-house was main-
tained by the McCune family. The masonry of St.
John Furnace was done by Jesse Taylor, and was
so substantial that it remained long after everything
else had passed away.

i A number of miles above, on the same stream, a
mining company, composed of Freeman, Miller, and
Linton, secured a large tract of mineral lands, which
were placed in charge of Maj. James Rogers, under
whose direction as superintendent the Fayette Fur-
nace was erected in 1827-28. In 1831, Joseph and
George Rogers became the owners of the furnace, and
several years later Dr. Joseph Rogers alone, who
kept it in blast until 1841. Its capacity was from two
to three tons per day, and much of the metal was cast



into kettles, conking utensils, etc., which were sold at
the furnace, or conveyed to Counellsville on wagons
and sleds, and thence shipped to Pittsburgh. When
the furnace was carried on at its best many men were
employed, who lived in small houses in that locality,
forming a hamlet, which contained twenty-six build-
ings, most of which have been removed.

Almost the entire Indian Creek Valley, with its
adjacent hills, is underlaid with fine coal possessing
many of the qualities of the celebrated Connellsville
coal. It is found in three distinct veins, at difl'erent
elevations from the bed of the creek, varying from
three to six feet in thickness. Coal was first used in
the township for blacksmithing purposes about 1835,
being taken from a bank on the clay pike, east of
Springfield village, in such small quantities that it
was carried away in a bag. Soon its value for fuel
was found out, and raining at that place and other
points was begun, and has been continued to the pres-
ent. In 1881 the following mines were in working
condition : Jacob Minor's, east of the village of
Springfield, the place where coal was first mined ;
David Sliank's, south of the village ; the old Solomon
Kernliunk: .John k-hultz's and James Gallentine's, on
Stony Klin; .Tar<ili Murry's, near Poplar Kuu ; Jack-
son Rose's, on Indian Creek ; George Showman's, on
the lower part of that stream, the bank being three
hundred feet above the level of the creek, and the
coal appearing in a five-foot vein ; Garrett Hall's; the
Eicher and Solomon Davis' banks, farther up on the
same stream ; the John Miller bank, on the old Shu-
max farm, has a six-foot vein ; and the John F.
Campbell bank has been opened to the extent of fifty
yards ; the Rogers mine, on Buck Run and Middle
Fork, has a working passage the distance of one hnn-
dred yards, and the coal appears in a vein six feet in
thickness. South of Indian Creek, on Mill Run and
aflluent streams, are coal-banks owned by Jolm
Bigani, Kli Crall, John Dull, George Dull,' R. AV.
Win-knian, ^<aniucl Xickerson, Abraham 'Williams,
and others, wliich serve only to supply the demand
for home use.


After the completion of the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad, in 1871, a station was located at the mouth
of Indian Creek, which bears the name of the stream,
and a post-office established with the name of Hamp-
ton. The station is a store, and the post-office was
kept by W. F. 'Walter, but tlie wild nature of the
country in that locality made it advisable to continue
the latter two but a short time. The railroad com-
pany still maintains a llag-station for the accommo-
dation of the farmers of that neighborhood. The
history of the post-office at Stewarton Station is given
in the township of Stewart, from which the office was
removed but a short time ago.

The hamlet of Mill Run is along the old Turkey
Foot road, where it crosses that stream, and consists

of a tannery, mills, several stores, and a dozen houses,
built without thought of forming a village and on
unplatted ground. The first improvement was the
Kooser grist-mill, built in 1851, although the old
Bigam meeting-house had before directed attention to
this locality as a central point for the people of Spring-
field south of Indian Creek. In 1851 was also opened
the store of Weller & Dull, in a building erected for
that purpose, and which yet remains. Daniel W.
Dull became the sole owner of the store in a few years,
and sold out to John W. Sherbondy, who removed
the stock of goods to Springfield. For a time the
place was without a store, but in 1863 Jonathan and

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 173 of 193)