Copyright
Henry Wilson Storey.

History of Cambria County, Pennsylvania (Volume 1) online

. (page 1 of 56)
Online LibraryHenry Wilson StoreyHistory of Cambria County, Pennsylvania (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 56)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


■ s






\



\



\



^1>



:N:r



C7



-J'-



.\



THE \

NEW YORK
PUBLIC LIBRARY]

Astor, Lenox and Tllden

Founi/Ktlonk,

1909




k>/4^^?;:




HISTORY



OF



CAMBRIA COUNTY



PENNSYLVANIA



BY



HENRY WILSON STOREY



WITH



GENEALOGICAL MEMOIRS



' ' '. >



ILLUSTRATED. '°''''?.






voluivie: I.



THE LEWIS PUBLISHING COMPANY

NEW YORK CHICAGO

1907



' THE NEV/ YORK I

PUBLIC LIBRARY



<^40



A8TOR, LENOX ANP
TILDEN FOUNDATION*,

R 1909 L



Copyright 1907

BY

THE LEWIS PUBLISHING COMPANY



• • c



1 ••• , •• •



FOREWORD



A history of Cambria County and its people is an essential
part of the progress of civilization in our country for two hun-
dred and twenty-five years.

After its acquisition by William Penn it was at peace with
the red man for a period of seventy years, followed by thirty
years of cruel barbarism.

In the beginning its pioneers were with Washington in the
struggle for independence; its rank and file have marched with
Dearborn, Taylor and Scott, Grant, Farragut and Shafter, and
gallantly sustained our government.

' Its 666 square miles of land were richly endowed with the
tall white pine and hemlock, and the forests are filled with
hard wood, and its mountains are veined with the best quality
of bituminous coal.

In the iron and steel industry it has created for itself an
international reputation for excellent products, and in its fine
arts its people have achieved a worthy place. In statesmanship
and government, in the nation and state, the influence of its
men has been wielded for the good.

It is worthy to modestly enroll the achievements of her
people among the annals of our country.

In grateful aclmowledgment of the invaluable assistance
given in the preparation of this history by James M. Swank,
George T. Swank and Anderson H. Walters of the Johnstown
Tribune, John McCormick and other friends, the author de-
sires to express his sincere thanks.



MEN OF CAMBRIA WHO HAVE DISTINGUISHED IT BY

THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS.

1. John J. Boyle: A Sculptor.

2. Jacob Miller Campbell: A General and a Statesman.

3. George Fritz: An Inventor and Engineer.

4. John Fritz : An Inventor and Engineer.

5. Lawrence Francis Flick, M. D. : The Master of Tuber-

culosis.

6. John Fulton: Geologist and Mining Engineer.

7. Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin: A Pioneer Priest.

8. John White Geary: A Major General and Governor of

Kansas and Pennsylvania.

9. Joseph Johns: A Friend of the Common Schools and

Founder of Johnstown.
10. William R. Jones: An Inventor, Engineer and Manager

of Steel Works.
IL George Shryock King: Founder of the Cambria Iron Co.
12; Daniel Johnston Morrell: Iron and Steel Master; Author

of and the Chairman of the Executive Committee of

the Centennial Exhibition, and Commissioner to the

Paris Exposition.

13. Robert Samuel Murphy: Lieutenant Governor and Presi-

dent of the Pennsylvania Senate.

14. Robert Edwin Peary: The Arctic Explorer.

15. Cyrus Long Pershing: A President Judge and Member

of the War Assembly; the Democratic Candidate for
Governor, Supreme Judge and Congress.

16. Robert Lees Phythian: A Commodore in the United

States Naw and a Superintendent of the Naval
Academy-

17. Charles M. Schwab: A Steel Master.

18. Powell Stackhouse: President of the Cambria Steel Co.

19. James Moore Swank: An Editor, Statistician and His-

torian.



CONTENTS



CHAPTER. I.

William Penn seeks to purchase title from the Susquehanna
river — Penn secures the Dongan title — Penn's difficul-
ties in England and in the province — Treaties with the
Indians — French and Indian War — Charles Campbell
procures a warrant for the land on the Conemaugh
and Stonycreek rivers at Johnstown 1

CHAPTER II.

The Revolutionary War period — Meetings in Carpenter's
Hall in Philadelphia — Companies of Captain Robert
Cluggage, Captain Richard Brown, Captain Andrew
Mann, and Captain Jacob Hendershot — The companies
of rangers; Captain John Boyd and Captain Solomon
Adams — Mason and Dixon line — The whiskey rebellion
of 179^— The Forbes Road ." 10

CHAPTER III.

Organization of Counties — Cambria county taken from
Somerset and Huntingdon — First townships in Cam-
bria county 29

CHAPTER IV.

Indian Tribes in the Conemaugh valley — First white

visitors 46

CHAPTER V.

Pioneer settlers — Adams family — Prince Grallitzin — Cap-
tain Michael M'Guire — Joseph Johns — He lays out the
village of Conemaugh 67

CHAPTER A^I.
Indian trails — Old roads 91



vi CONTENTS

CHAPTEE VII.

A Political Eeview — The politics of the county, state and

nation from 1808 102

CHAPTEE VIII.

The Judicial District — Jurisdiction of the courts, and legis-
lation — Special acts, the judges and law^^ers — Inci-
dents 143

CHAPTEE IX.

Anti-slavery Sentiment— The underground railroad—
*' Abraham" and ''Patrick" shot at by a slave hunter
— Arrest of Henry Willis and others for aiding the
slaves 186

CHAPTEE X.
First Settlements 193

CHAPTEE XI.

The Eivers, Creeks and Eivulets — Saw and grist mills, and

rafting 211

CHAPTEE XII.
The City of Johnstown 240

CHAPTEE XIII.
Land Titles 290

CHAPTEE XIV.
The Eivers at Johnstown 311

CHAPTEE XV.
The Pennsvlvania Canal 330

CHAPTEE XVI.
Old and New Portage Eailroads 347

CHAPTEE XVII.
Newspapers and Periodicals 367

CHAPTEE XVIII.

Cambria Stee-t Company — Origin and early history of the

present great corporation 400



CONTENTS vii

CHAPTER XIX.

Fall of the Pennsylvania railroad platform 448

CHAPTER XX.
The Great Flood of May 31, 1889 457

CHAPTER XXI.
The Medical Profession 509

CHAPTER XXII.
Old Families in the County 535

CHAPTER XXIII.
Coal, coke, railroads and lumber -; . . . 573



History of Cambria County.



CHAPTER I.

WILLIAM PENN SEEKS TO PUECHASE INDIAN TITLE FOR THE SUSQUE-
HANNA RIVER PENN SECURES THE DONGAN TITLE PENN's DIE-

FICULTIES IN ENGLAND AND IN THE PROVINCE TREATIES WITH

THE INDIANS FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR CHARLES CAMPBELL

PROCURES A WARRANT FOR THE LAND ON THE CONEMAUGH AND
STONEYCREEK RIVERS AT JOHNSTOWN.

The King of England, Charles II, desiring to perpetuate
the memory of his friend, Admiral William Penn, for his vic-
tory over the Dutch fleet in 1665, looked with favor on the peti-
tion of William Penn, his son, for permission and a grant of
sufficient land in America to locate a colony thereon ; therefore,
on March 4, 1681, at Westminster, the charter for Pennsylvania
was granted. The boundary lines were given thus :

"All that tract or parte of land in America, with all the
Islands therein conteyned, as the same is bounded on the East
by Delaware River, from twelve miles distance Northwards of
New Castle Towne unto the three and fortieth degree of North-
ern latitude if the said River doth extend soe farre Northwards :
But if the said River shall not extend soe farre Northward, then
by the said River soe farr as it doth extend, and from the head
of the said River the Easterne bounds are to bee determined by
a meridian line to bee drawn from the head of the said River
unto the said three and fortieth degree, the said lands to extend
Westwards, five degrees in longitude, to be computed from the
said Eastern Bounds, and the said lands to bee liounded on the
North by the Ijeginning of the three and fortieth degree of
Northern latitude, and on the South, by a circle drawn at twelve
miles distance from New Castle Northwards, and Westwards
unto the beginning of the fortieth degree of Northern Latitude :
and then by a straight line Westwards, to the limitt of Longi-
tude above mentioned."

Under this authority Penn immediately began to make his
arrangements to take possession, and appointed William Mark-
ham, his cousin, lieutenant governor, who arrived in New York

Vol. I— 1



2 HISTORY OF CAMBRIA COUNTY.

iu June, 1681. Markham found Captain Anthony Brockliolls,
deputy governor of New York, in charge of the Duke of York's
colonies. Brockholls inspected the documents which Markham
presented, and in acknowledging their validity gave him a let-
ter to the settlers in Pennsylvania, requesting them to yield
obedience to the new proprietor. On August 3, 1681, Markham
organized a Council, which was the formal beginning of Penn's
proprietorship, and began to buy lands from the Indians.

Penn sailed in the ship "Welcome," and landed. at Upland,
now Chester, about October 28, 1682, when he was about thirty-
eight years of age. Markham had had the city of Philadelphia
laid out before Penn's arrival, but it was under his instructions,
inasmuch as two years later Penn wrote: "And thou Philadel-
phia, named before thou wast born."

In the summer of 1683 Penn began to negotiate with the
Iroquois chiefs of New York, who were in control of the tribes
on the Susquehanna river, for that river and the lands on both
sides of it. In July he wrote to Brockholls commending two
agents he was sending to treat with the sachems of the Mohawks,
Senecas and their allied tribes, for a release of the Susquehanna
lands. In his letter he declared his intention "is to treat
* * * about some Susquehanash land on ye back of us, where
I intend a colony forthwith, a place so out of the way that a
small thing could not carry some people to it." It seems very
clear that Penn's intentions were to secure at once the Sus-
quehanna river to its source, and to the extreme point, or,
as he expressed it so plainly, "a place so out of the way that a
small thing could not carry some people to it."

The agents, William Haige and James Graham, proceeded
to Albany in August, and found that Brockholls had been super-
seded by Colonel Thomas Dongan, who had arrived August
25, 1683. Colonel Dongan is an important personage in the
study of the history of Pennsylvania, in view of his term of
service as governor of New York until 1688. He was a Roman
Catholic, as was the Duke of York, and an enterprising, active
and intelligent man, well qualified to manage the delicate rela-
tions then existing, especially so with the Iroquois Indians.

When Dongan heard of Penn's negotiations for the Sus-
quehanna river it gave him much concern, and caused his jus-
tices, who were his advisers, to become panicstricken. They
feared that Penn would plant a strong settlement on the Sus-
quehanna, and that the Iroquois Indians, instead of bringing



HISTORY OF CAMBRIA COUNTY. 3

tlieir furs to the Hudson river, would send them to what is now
Philadelphia, l3y the way of the Susquehanna.

On September 7, 1683, the justices had a conference witli
such Indians as could be reached in their haste for action. These
were two Cayugas and "a Susquehanna," who were closely
interrogated as to the Sustjuehanna's geographical and trade
relations with the New York settlements, especially Albany.
These close questions caused the Indians to- be inquisitive.
Their inquiries were: Why did the justices want to know?
Were the white men coming to the Susquehanna? The chiefs
were asked how this Avould suit them, assuming it to be correct,
and they candidly replied "very well," as it- would be much
easier and nearer to trade there than at Albany, "insomuch as
they must bring everything thither on their backs."

The situation was alarming, and the justices hastily advised
Dongan to find some way to prevent Penn from acquiring the
"Susquehanna Indian title." On the 18th, Colonel Dongan
informed Haige and Graham that it was considered "very con-
venient and necessary to putt a stopp to all proceedings in
Mr. Penn's affairs with the Indians until his bounds and limits
be adjusted," and furthermore "to suffer no manner of pro-
ceedings in that business" until they should be advised. The
Indians were influenced by Dongan and his friends not to sell
to Penn, being told that they had no right to do that, but should
sell to the New York parties.

• , The situation was acute and prompt action was required;
therefore, to control it, Dongan purchased from some of the
chiefs, especially the Senecas, these lands and the river for
himself. He seems to have been uncertain whether his position
in this transaction was entirely honorable, although on October
lOtli he wrote to Penn avowing his purchase, and in another
letter of the 22d he stated the "Indians had confirmed the
sale;" however, he added, that he and Penn would "not fall
out" over it.

Even this purchase did not clear the liaze, and Penn's
efforts were causing much uneasiness in New York for fear of
losing the Indian trade. It went so far that in 1691 the Pro-
vincial Council of New York presented a petition to William
III, earnestly requesting the dispossessing of Penn altogether.
They represented that "The Susquehanna is situate in the mid-
dle of the Sinnekes country," and that it had been given to
the Duke of York manv vears before Penn bad received his



4 ITISTORY OF CAMBRIA COUNTY.

charter. They further stated that Penn was endeavoring to
buy it from the Indians in order to draw away trade to his
province, and the King was assured this would do them great
damage, because "All the Nations with whom Albany hath a
trade live at the head of the Susquehanna river, ' ' and declared
that ''the inhabitants at Albany" had "only seated themselves
there and addicted their minds to the Indian language and the
mysteries of the said trade with the purpose to manage it."
They insistently urged that if Penn's title to Pennsylvania
should be affirmed that it should extend no further on the Sus-
quehanna than the falls thereof. The falls are probably at
the mouth of the Conestoga creek, about fifteen miles north of
the Maryland line. They preferred that Pennsylvania, New
Jersey, Delaware and Connecticut be re-annexed to New York.
The uneasiness which Penn's negotiations caused in 1683
had now become malevolent; it was bitter and vindictive toward
the Province and its rulers. Penn was the central object for
the attacks of those who disliked his religious views, his demo-
cratic system of government, despised his humane policy, or
hated all of these. This was the beginning of Penn's trou-
bles and the historical events relating to Barr, Carroll and
Susquehanna townships in Cambria county.

In 1684 Penn returned to England with the fixed purpose
of making a short visit and of bringing his family to Penn-
sylvania, but in the meanwhile James II had succeeded Charles
II as King of England. Penn strove to use his influence for
the persecuted dissenters, which included the Roman Catho-
lics, and at first James assented, but political measures
demanded the re-enactment of offending measures, however,
and Penn continued to intercede for the oppressed people. This
condition of affairs continued until the revolution of 1688.

William and Mary ascended the throne February 13, 1689, in
full faith in the doctrine of the Church of England, which rad-
ically changed the situation. All the friends of the Stuarts
were suspects. Penn was twice arrested on charges of trea-
sonable correspondence with the ])anished James, and twice
was he acquitted. He was accused of being "a cheat," also of
being a Catholic, and under these strained conditions of aifairs
he remained in seclusion for three years. In 1693 three lords
presented his case to William with the assurance there was
nothing against him, and Penn was given his liberty.

However, his troubles were not confined to England, inas-



HISTORY OF CAMBRIA COUNTY, 5

much as in 1692 his executive authority over Pennsylvania was
taken from him and given to Benjamin Fletcher, governor of
New York, who was totally out of sympathy with the people of
this province, bnt npon Penn's release in 1693 his powers were
restored.

While Penn was abroad Thomas Dongan, formerly gov-
ernor of New York, returned to England in 1691 and succeeded
to the earldom of Limerick in 1698.

Penn's proprietorship of Pennsylvania now being confirmed
by William and Mary, he sought to acquire the ownership and
control of the Susquehanna river, regarding it as essential to
the prosperity of his province. It had been his first thought
as early as 1683, and most likely prior to that date, as his cor-
respondence with Markham shows, and his general knowledge
of the Province had determined the value of that river. There-
fore in 1695 he opened negotiations with Colonel Dongan for
the purchase of the interest of the Seneca Indians in the Sus-
quehanna river and its lands, which the latter had acquired
in his name in 1683. They were concluded successfully on Jan-
uary 12, 1696, by acquiring a lease thereof for one thousand
years, in consideration of the payment of one hundred pounds
and the annual rent of a "pepper corn" to be delivered on the
"Feast Day of St. Michaell the Arch Angel," is demanded.

Penn remained m England until September 9, 1699, when
he and his family sailed for America to make it their home;
however, this was not to be, as he returned to England in
1701 for a visit, and the changed conditions prevented him from
ever returning to Pennsylvania. The Province was governed
through his deputies until his death in 1718, when his son and
other heirs assumed control over Pennsylvania.

The following is the text of the deed of Colonel Thomas
Dongan to AVilliam Penn :

Deed of Thos. Dongan to William Penn, * * * This
indenture made the 12th day of January, Anno Dni, 1696, and
in the eighth yeare of the reigne of our Sovereign, Lord Will-
iam, the Third, King of Eng'd. between Thomas Dongan, late
Govern 'r of New York, and now of London, Esqr. of the one
part, and,

William Penn,
Govern 'r of the Province of Pensilvania in America, of the
other part; * * * [^ consideration of the sume of one
hundred Pounds * * * to him in hand paid by the said
William Penn * * * he hath demised and granted *



*



6 HISTORY OF CAMBRIA COUNTY.

* to the said William Penn, * * * All that tract of Land
Jyeng upon, on l)oth sides the River commonly called or known
by the name of the Susquehanna Eiver and the Lakes adiacent,
in or near the Province of Pensilvania, * * * bggjn-ipjg
at the Mountain or head of the said river, and running as fare
as and into the Bay of Chessapeake, with all Isles, Islands,
mines, woods * * * which the said Thomas Dongan lately
purchased of or had given him by the Sinneca Susquehannah
Indians, and also all the lands * * * whatsoever lyeing
on both sides the Susquehannah river * * * which he,
the said Thomas Dongan did, at any time purchase or which
were at am^ time given unto (him) by the said Indians. * * *

To have and to hold, from the date hereof, for and unto
the end and term of One Thousand years, paying * * *
yearly and every year on the Feast day of St. Michaell the
Arch Angel, the rent of a pepper Corn, if the same shall or
lawfully (be) demanded to the intent and purpose, that by the
force * * * of these presents and of the Statute for trans-
ferring of uses, into possession, the said William Penn may be
in the actuall possession of the premises, and may be thereby
the better enabled to attempt and take a grant, release, * *

* for his heirs and assigns forever. * * *

Thomas Doistgaist, (LS.)

It will be observed this' document is a lease for the Sus-
quehanna lands and the river, but on the following day Don-
gan conveyed all his right, title and interest therein to W^illiam
Penn, in fee, for the consideration of one hundred pounds.
The deed is dated January 13, 1696, and conveys "all the land
and every of the Senneca Susquehannah Indians," and will
warrant and forever defend it.

There are two branches of the Susquehanna river which
join at Sunbury. The northern branch extends into the state
of New York. The Avestern branch runs along Union county,
and passes through Lycoming, Clinton, along Center, and,

through Clearfield counties into Cambria, at Cherry Tree. Its
source is, of course, on the eastern slope of the Allegheny
mountains, and becomes prominent near Carrolltown, then
passes through Carroll township, along Barr and through Sus-
quehanna townships into Clearfield county.

The Susquehanna is the only stream which drains the east-
ern slope and the territory east of the Allegheny mountains in
our State, and being very crooked the distance from its source
to Sunbury is about two hundred miles, fifteen of which lies in
Cambria countv.



HISTORY OF CAMBRIA COUNTY. 7

The Dongan deed is not of record except as it appears in
the colonial records, nor has it ever been found: however it
was confirmed in 1700 by several of the tribes, and in 1722 the
Conestoga Indians, then known as the Susquehanna Indians,







Cambria County Territory.

W. Scull Map of 1770.
Savages at "Conemack."

confirmed the lease and sale of 1696. It was subsequently af-
firmed by treaty and by deeds.

Notwithstanding the confirmation and the admissions of
the Five Nations, the Delaware Indians claimed they had an
interest in the Susquehanna lands, iand as the boundaries were



8 HISTORY OF CAMBRIA COUNTY.

indefinite in the former deeds, the Penns arranged for an-
other conference with these several tribes, which took place
October 11th, 1736, in Philadelphia, and another treaty was
made. They gave tlie following deed:

To All People to whom these presents may come, * * *
we do and every of them doth give, grant, bargain, sell, release
and confirm nnto the said proprietors, John Penn and Richard
Penn, their heirs and assigns, * * * x\\ the said River
Susqnehannah, with the lands lying on both sides thereof, to
extend Eastward as far as the heads of the Branches or Springs
which run into the said Susquehannah, and all the lands lying
on the West side of the said River to the setting of the Sun,
and to extend from the mouth of the said River Northward,
up the same to the Hills or mountains called in the language
of the .said Nations, the Tyannuntasacta, or endless hills, and
by the Delaware Indians, the Kekkachtananin Hills, together,
also, with all the Islands in the said River. * * *

Dated October 11th, 1736.



Onondagoes.


His


Haxis^yhaeaxgguas,


X


Kakiskeeowaxa.


X


By his fr'd, Kaneck]


liun




mark.


ASHCOALAX,


X


Tagunhunty,


X


Hetquaxtagechta,


X


Caxhaayn,


X


Oneidas.




KUCHDAC H ARY,


X


Tecochtseeghekochoo,


X


Sawegatekoe,


X


Saliskaguoh.


X


By his fr'd.




Shekalamy,


X


Tagunhun^ty,


X


Tahashwaxgaeoeas,


X


SA:srEYUSK0E,


X


Tuscaroras.




Can-aungoe,


X


Sewuxtga,


X


Cahooyeeoh,


X


Tyeeos,


X


Senecas.




Cuyagos,




Kaxickhungo,


X


Seguchsaxyuxt,


X


Eyacksagee,


X


Suxeretchy,


X


Alias, Tagachskaholoo.


Kaxawatoe,


X



In the conference between Governor Keith and the Cones-
toga Indians in 1722, the Indians claimed that forty years be-
fore that, which would be 1682, William Penn had procured
some person in New York to purchase the lands on the Susque-
hanna river from the Five Nations, who pretended to have a
right in them by having conquered the Indians formerly set-
tled there. The Conestoga Indians said to Governor Keith
''that William Penn took the parchment and laid it upon the
ground, and saying to them it should be common amongst them,
namely, the English and the Conestoga Indians." Keith re-
plied: *'I am very glad to find that you remember so perfectly



HISTORY OF CAMBRIA COUNTY. 9

the wise and kind expressions of the great and good William
Penn towards you; and I know that the purchase which he
made of the lands on both sides of the Susquehanna is exactly
true as you tell it, only I have heard further that when he was
so good to tell your people, that notwithstanding that purchase
the lands should still be in common between his people and
them, you answered that very little land would serve you, and
thereupon you fully confirmed his right, by your consent and
good will, etc."

The great object William Penn had in mind was the con-
trol of the Susquehanna river throughout his province. There-
fore, on September 13th, 1700, he purchased from Widagh and
AndaggAgunkquagh, kings or sachems of the Susquehanna In-
dians, all their right in the Susquehanna river, "and all the
lands situate, lying and being on both sides of the said river,
and next adjoining to the same, to the utmost confines of the
lands which are or formerly were the right of the people or na-
tion called the Susquehannagh Indians, or by what name soever
they were called," and therein confirmed the deed of Thomas
Dongan, now the Earl of Limerick, to William Penn, dated
September 13th, 1696. This deed is recorded in the Department



Online LibraryHenry Wilson StoreyHistory of Cambria County, Pennsylvania (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 56)