FORMATION AND BOUNDARIES-BLOCKHOUSES-FIRST SETTLERS IN THE COUNTY-EARLY LAND VALUES-INDUSTRIES-NOTABLE EVENTS-WHITESBURG-"GREEN OAK"-ELDERTON BOROUGH- ELDERTON ACADEMY-SOLDIERS' AID SOCIETY-CHURCHES-SCHOOLS-GEOLOGY
The name of this township was derived from the Indian name Sipuashanne, of which Plum Creek is a liberal translation. It was also called Alum creek on an old historical map of the county. The names were adopted from the creek which flows through the eastern end of the township.
Plum Creek was formed in 1809 from the division of the six original townships into which Armstrong county was divided, and included, until they were separated from it in 1821 and 1848, the townships of Wayne, Cowanshannock, Burrell and South Bend.
The original limits of the township, previous to its division in 1821, were as follows: "Beginning at the fording on Mahoning Creek, where the road leading from Kittanning to Reed's mill crosses said creek, thence southward along said road to the top of the creek hill, about one mile thence south 640 perches to a hickory; thence south 3 degrees west 800 perches to a post; thence
south 3 degrees east to a W. O. 450 perches; thence south 43 degrees east 40 perches to a W.O. at Peck's house; thence south 5 degrees west, 1,293 perches to Cowanshannock, about 20 perches below the mouth of Huskins' run; thence south 23 degrees west 2,265 perches to the west branch of Cherry Run, about 80 perches above the mouth of Long run; thence down Cherry Run to where the same puts into Crooked Creek."
The many beautiful streams with their abundant waterpower and the considerable scope of level and productive land in this section of the county early attracted settlers, and permanent settlements were made in this part before the more rugged and broken sections of the northern and western portions were populated.
Being subject to attacks from the Indians, the first settlers of Plum Creek erected the ever necessary blockhouse on the land of William Clark in the southeastern part, not far from the present line of Indiana county. Another building perforated with portholes for defense, but not originally erected as a blockhouse, stood on the road leading from Elderton to the old Crooked Creek Salt Works, on the then named Downs' farm. Both of these interesting edifices have long since passed into oblivion.
George Miller was the earliest white settler in the township in 1788. He located where the Kittanning and Indiana turnpike crosses Plum creek. Twenty years later John and Peter Thomas settled about a mile and a half north of that point at "Elder's Vale," where the latter built a grist mill, afterward owned by Robert Woodward.
Among the earliest emigrants to this section was Absalom Woodward, who came with his wife and two children in 1788 from Cumberland county. He was an energetic and public-spirited citizen. When the first petition for a county bridge was presented to the first county court and refused from motives of economy, he voluntarily offered to build it at his own expense and wait indefinitely for the money. His generous offer was not at once accepted and after much red tape has been unwound was finally refused. The bridge, which crossed Crooked creek not far Elderton, was finally built by private subscription, and was washed away in 1818 by a February flood. Another of his acts was the building and donation of a church near South Bend. It was a simple log one, but, considering the limited means of the pioneers, was a liberal offering to the service of God in those days.
David Ralston, whose wife, Agnes, the second daughter of Capt. Andrew Sharp, was the first white child born in this county, was one of the early settlers in 1800. He purchased and resided on several tracts in the township, finally meeting an accidental death in 1809.
Some of the original land owners and settlers within the old boundaries of the township were: William Cowden, Jane Elliott, Benjamin Lesher, Joseph Dunlap, Peter Deshong, Benjamin Lowrey, John Magot, Andrew Dormeyer, William Sansom, Church Smith, Samuel Dilworth, Hugh Watson, William Nolder, John Young, Jacob Rowley, John Allison, William Hurton, Joseph Burden, Peter Altman, Robert Cooper, John Willis, George Smith, Christopher McMichael, James Clark, George Campbell, John Findley, John Biddle, James Kean, John Smith, John Davidson, John Cooper, Michael Rupert, R. McKinley, hugh Elgin, John Nolder, Isaac Henderson, R. J. Elder, James Blakeney, Samuel McCrea, Nicholas Rittenhouse, Moses McLean, Thomas Shields, Arthur Chambers, John Eakey, Samuel Dixon, Thomas Taylor, Ann Parks, Jacob Amos, Mary Semple, Robert Semple, Walter Templeton, Charles Leeper, Joseph Mather, John Fitzer, Israel Morris, Larken Dorsey, Samuel Morris, Thomas Hutchinson, George Meade, Absalom Herschberger, William Ewing, Andrew Milligan, Philip Rearigh, Alexander Nelson, George Boyer, Joseph Ogden, Robert Cogley, Christopher Miller, Thomas Hyde, Robert Towers, Stephen Lowrey, Robert Sturgeon, Andrew Craft, Riley Coe, Jacob Ruffner, Tobias Long, Archibald McIntosh, Jacob Stein, Nathan Burns, Patrick Robb, James Burnside, John Garrett, John Carney, Samuel P. Moore, Henry Hill, Jacob Evermonde, Samuel George.
EARLY LAND VALUES
The first assessment list of this township, made in 1811, shows that the vvaluation of the occupied lands varied from 25 cents to $1 per acre. One small tract of thirty acres was assessed to William Fotty at 12 � cents an acre. The valuation of the unseated lands varied fenerally from 50 to 75 cents per acre, a few tracts at a dollar, and those of Timothy Pickering & Co., in what are now Wayne and Cowanshannock townships, at $2 an acre.
The order for the survey of the Jane Elliott tract is dated April 3, 1769, and that for the William Cowden tract May 16 next ensuing. The dates of a number of the other original warrants are as early as 1773.
These and other tracts were sold 140 years ago at the rate of five shillings for three hundred acres, as expressed in the deeds. No comparison can be made with present values, as these portions of the township are not for sale now, and are valued according to their location, agricultural and mineralogical importance.
The first assessment list of Plum Creek township, while of course its territory was intact, indicates that there were in it then, 1811, two gristmills and sawmills, owned respectively by James and William Clark and Peter Thomas; seven distilleries, owned respectively by William George, William Johnston (two), William Kirkpatrick, James Kirkpatrick, Church Smith, George Smith, and John Willis; one hatter, William Fiscus, and one innkeeper, Absalom Woodward; number of taxables, 120; population, 598.
In July, 1837, heavy rains along Plum creek destroyed the thriving crops of wheat, timothy and clover and frowned large numbers of hogs. Two bridges, a new and and old one, were washed away. A few days after Christmas in 1838 the steam gristmill, originally built by Peter Thomas, but then owned by Robert Woodward, was burned, together with two carding machines owned by James C. Fleming, and 1,800 bushels of grain belonging to the the farmers of the surrounding country.
The Plum Creek Farmers' Mutual Insurance Company was incorporated in 1874. It still transacts business.
This little village in the northwestern corner of the township is named after Maj. James White, who laid out and surveyed the lots in 1828. It is noted for the remarkably picturesque scenery in that vicinity. It is still about the same size as in early days, when Dr. J. K. Park and J.A. Kelly served the people of that section. Dr. J. A. Kelly is still practicing there. John A. Blaney was the first postmaster in 1861. The present one is James Blaney, who is also storekeeper.
This village is on the Kittanning and Elderton pike, and is one of the stopping points of the last stage line operating in the county, in 1913.
was a little settlement at one time in the forks of Plum creek, almost on the northern line of the township. It promised to be a town, but the promise was never fulfilled, for its namesake on Cowanshannock township, just above it, soon overshadowed it. Since 1878 it has not even been on the maps of the county.
This borough is located on a tract formerly called "Wheatfield," originally owned by Sarah Elder, to whom a patent was issued in 1786. Robert J. Eldwe in 1822 laid out a town on the site, calling it "New Middletown," and it is so designated in some of the early court records and assessmsent lists. The first house erected in it was a small log one, which was kept as a tavern by William Elgin, whose sign was about 19 by 8 inches, nailed to a stick stuck in a stump with this inscription on it: "Oats and whiskey for sale." Mr. Elder then lived in a house agterward occupied by John R. Adams, on a farm now owned by Matthew Pettigrew.
The first assessment list of the town was in 1824 and bore the following names: Thomas Armstrong, William D. Barclay, William Coulter, Daniel Elgin, Samuel George, John George, Dr. Leonce Hoover, John Kees, blacksmith, William McLaughlin, Moses Miller, Samuel Sturgeon and Robert Woodward.
Among the earliest citizens of this town were Thomas Armstrong, tailor, afterward justice of the peace; Zack Kerr, chairmaker; Hamlet Totten, shoemaker; Joseph Klingensmith, saddler; William Lytle and William D. Barclay, merchants; Daniel Elgin and Eilliam Coulter, innkeepers, the latter of whom was justice of the peace for nineteen years; John and William Elgin, Robert Richey, George Shyrock, A. W. Clark, George Smith, James Clark, later of Indiana, Pa., who established the tannery afterward owned by Charles Rosborough. John Ralston traded a horse with the late Robert Woodward for the lot on which he lived in 1880. He and William Lytle entered into partenership in the mercantile business in 1931, which they carried on in the room afterward occupied by Dr. J. M. St. Clair.
Among the later settlers were Andrew Kimmell and Drs. Meeker, Kelly and Allison. The last named was an army surgeon in the Civil War, and with his son later moved to Kittanning. It was at Elderton that the famous Dr. David Alter, of Freeport, first experimented with the telegraph.
Elderton was incorporated as a borough in 1859 and the first officers were: William Lytle, burgess; Robert Martin, William S. Cummins, Robert T. Robinson, Bryson Henderson, Bryson Henderson, Joseph Henderson, councilmen; John Ralston, street commissioner; Henry Smith, R. M. Gibson, assessors; D. W. Hawk, auditor; Elias Kepple, constable; William Alexander, Noah Kiefer, overseers of the poor; John H. Morrison, Joseph Klingenberger, Anderson Henderson, William Haslett, G. W. Burkett, Charles Rosborough, school directors.
The Ebensburg and Butler pike was built through the town in 1865, the authorities supplying the part under their jurisdiction. This was the first good road through this part of the county. Paving of the sidewalks of the borough was begun in 1872 and at present the inhabitants are well provided with those evidences of municipal enterprise.
Robert M. Gibson opened a store here in 1832, continuing until his death in 1884, when his son, Addison H. inherited the business and has carried it on ever since. John Heckman opened a store here in 1888. His successors are Heckman Brothers.
J. R. Dunmire was postmaster here for several years. His successor in 1913 is Mrs. Lizzie Miller, who is also the leading milliner.
The resident physicians are Drs. Jesse W. Campbell, Charles E. Keeler and William S. McCreight.
The United Presbyterian congregation of Elderton was organized Dec. 25, 1854, as an Associate Presbyterian congregation, with thirty-two members, as follows: William Lytle, Mrs. Mary Lytle, Miss Elizabeth Lytle, Mrs. Nancy Henderson, W. S. Cummins, Hugh Elgin, Mrs. Mary Elgin, James Elgin, Mrs. Mary Elgin, Jr., Samuel George, Mrs. Eliza George, Miss Sarah McCreight, Mrs. Elizabeth Rupert, Mrs. Jane Clark, Mrs. Eliza Montgomery, Mrs.Martha Martin, John Ralston, Mrs. Jane Ralston, Mrs. Nancy Mitchell, Miss Nancy Mitchell, David McCullough, David Rankin, Mrs. L. A. Rankin, Mathew Rankin, Mrs. Margaret Rankin, Mrs. Mary Rankin, Sr., John Rankin, Mrs. Mary Rankin, Jr., Mrs. Jane Henderson, James McCreight.
William Lytle and James McCreight were elected ruling elders at the time of the organization. Rev. Byron Porter, the first pastor, was installed in July, 1856. For three years, Mr. Porter preached at Elderton one third of his time, and from that until his death, which occurred Nov. 28, 1876.
Rev. J. B. Jackson was the pastor from 1877 to 1889. Rev. Thomas Patton is the present pastor.
The first house of worship was built in 1862, and cost $3,000. Previous to then the congregation had worshipped in a building owned jointly by them and the regular Presbyterians. Robert McIntosh and David Rankin were the ruling elders in 1856; Brice Henderson, W. S. Cummins, Robert McCullough and William Smith in 1861; S. B. Neal, 1864; Alexander Hunter, 1865; Thomas Sturgeon, John M. Hunter, 1879.
The Presbyterian Church at Elderton was organized in 1885, with the following members: Robert Woodward, Mrs. E. Woodward, Mrs. M. A. Klingenberger, Mrs. E. Rosborough, Mrs. Caroline Martin, Mrs. Mary Shannon, Mrs. Elizabeth Thomas, Mrs. Rebecca Robinson, Mrs. Polly Woodward, R. M. Gibson, Charles Rosborough, Robert Martin, John Shannon, Joseph Thomas, Robert Cochran, R. T. Robinson and Sarah Smith. The first lot was owned in partership with the Associate Congregation and upon that ground a brick edifice was jointly erected in 1862. Later, the building becoming defective, it was torn down and each congregation put up a separate house of worship on lots side by side in 1863. The Presbyterian edifice was a frame and cost $2,200. Rev. William F. Morgan preached the first sermon in the brick church in 1855 and served faithfully until 1873. Rev. Jacob L. Thompson came in 1874 and remained until 1876. Rev. Lycurgus Mechlin became pastor in 1877. Rev. William Offutt is the present pastor, serving the Whitesburg congregation also.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized here in 1870 and the present handsome frame edifice in the center of the town was built in that year. Rev. A. Cameron was the first pastor and during his term the congregation attained the remarkable membership of 230, while 280 children and adults were on the roll of the Sunday school. The present pastor is Rev. O. E. Rodkey.
As early as 1826 an organization existed in Elderton called the "New Middletown Schoolhouse Stockholders," who built in 1828 a schoolhouse, the first teacher being Josiah Elder. On the site of this frame school is located a fine brick public schoolhouse.
In 1860 the number of schools was 1; months taught, 7; male teacher, 1; salary per month, $20; male scholars, 31; female scholars, 34; average number attending school, 53; cost teaching per month, 39 cents; amount levied for school purposes, $175; received from collector, $175; expended-cost of instruction, $150; fuel , contingencies, $25.
In 1876 there was 1 school; months taught, 7; male teacher, 1; salary per month, $40; male scholars, 30; female scholars, 35; average number attending school, 56; cost per month, 66 cents; levied for school and building purposes, $281.92; received- from State appropriation, $75.33; from taxes, etc., $315.92; cost of schoolhouse, $14; teacher's salary, $280; fuel , contingencies, etc., $32.94.
In 1913 the number of schools was 2; months taught, 7; male teacher, 1; female teacher, 1; average salaries, male, $50; average salaries, female, $50; male scholars, 30; female scholars 32; average attendance, 48; cost per month of each scholar, $1.87 cents; amount tax levied, $583.80; received from State, $311.38; from other sources, $583.84; value of schoolhouses, $1,600; teachers' wages, $700; other expenses, $132.83.
The school directors for that year were: James G. Pew, president; W. C. Linsenbigler, secretary; E. S. Ralston, treasure; A. A. George, N. S. Rupert.
This school was founded n 1865, chiefly under United Presbyterian auspices. During most of the time until 1876 it was in charge of Rev. Byron Porter, at that thime pastor of the U. P. Church there. He was very successful, the enrollment one year reaching eighty pupils.
He was succeeded by his daughter Elizabeth, now Mrs. Rev. R.F. Smith, Pleasant Unity, Pa., who taught during three terms. Among those who succeeded her were: Rev. G. A. And mrs. Duncan, since deceased; Rev. J. H. Cooper, Congruity, Pa.; Rev. H. F. Earseman, Knox, Pa., Bruce Earhart, M.D., Saltsburg, Pa., William J. Christy, Esq., Kittanning, Pa., A. P. Gibson, Beaver, Pa., Mr. C. DeLancy, Indiana, Pennsylvania.
Then after a period of inactivity, the life of the Elderton Academy was resuscitated during the spring of 1895, by the earnest efforts of W. H. Bleakney, Elderton, Pa., now of Pendleton, Oregon, his labors extendein through a period of almost two years. He was succeeded by J. D. Chisholm, Pittsburgh, Pa., who taught almost one year. A. Bruce Gill, A. B., West Sunbury, Pa., next took up the work, followed by Dr. A. W. Nichols, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
The school attained its highest point of proficiency and scholarship under the supervision of Prof. W. A. Patton, the present superintendent of Armstrong county public schools. He here displayed such qualities of scholarship, both as instructor and organizer, that he became the county's choice for superintendent. He was succeeded by Earnest B. Lawrence, W. L. Austin, A. R. Ackerman and J. H. Lauffer, who came in 1911, and is in charge of the school at the present time. The Academy is duly chartered and controlled by a board of trustees, elected by stockholders, to serve for a period of four years.
A brass band, consisting of fifteen pieces, organized in 1872, was one of the best in the county.
SOLDIERS' AID SOCIETY
On the reception of the news of the first great battle in the ar of the Rebellion, and on the first intimation given that various articles were needed to make the sick and wounded Union soldiers comfortable, the ladies of Elderton and Plum Creek immediately, even on the Sabbath day, commenced preparing lint and bandages and collectin delicacies to be forwarded to the suffering with all possible dispatch, and this was continued for a considerable time before an association was regularly organized. Much-there is no record of how much-was then done, some sending their contributions to individual soldiers whom they knew. Toward the latter part of the war an account was kept of the mone and articles contributed. The aggregate of the former was $169.99 which the society expended dor material on which they expended their labor. Thirteen pages, thirteen by eight inches, are filled with entries of shirts, drawers, packages of bandages, dried fruits, canned fruits, vegetables, etc., received and forwarded through the sanitary commission to the army. The money value of all the contributions made by this society from first to last cannot now be estimate, but it is fair to state that the gross amount, if accurately known, would appear
to be highly creditable to the humanity and patriotism of those by whom it was contributed.
The population of Elderton in 1860 was 196; in 1870, 235; in 1880, 299; in 1890, 243; in 1900, 293; in 1910, 285.
The assessment returns for 1913 show: number of acres, 94, valued at $4,894; houses and lots, 139, value, $40,730, average, $293.02; horses, 49, value, $1,536, average, $31.34; cows, 14, value, $226, average, $16.14; taxable occupations, 120, amount, $3,740, total valuation, $51,126. Money at interest, $31,575.51.
CHURCHES IN THE TOWNSHIP
Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded in Gastown at an early date, a union church, occupied jointly with the United Presbyterians, having been built in 1818. Judge Robert Woodward donated the ground for the building. For a number of years the building was used byt the Lutheran, Presbyterian and Reformed congregations, but one by one they grew larger and each moved into homes of their own. The first to go were the United Presbyterians, and for years the other two sects used the old stone building. Finally they also outgrew the building and in 1867 erected a larger frame structure, 45 by 50 feet. The Lutherans were represented in the work by George Rearich, John Sell and Luke Bierer. The Reformed by Abraham Jewell, Jacob Thomas, Herman Rearich and Nicholas Reefer.
The Lutherans in 1893 decided to separate from the Reformed congregation, and in 1894 dedicated a building of their own which cost $2,037. On that day they gave their old-time partners a quit-claim deed to the old stone building.
The first pastor to preach in the old stone church was Rev. G. A. Reichart, in 1828. After his term Revs. John H. Bernheim and Jacob Zimmerman served from 1838 to 1847. A long vacancy then ensued until the coming of Rev. Michael Swigert in 1858, who remained until 1864. This section of the county was inclined to oppose the Civil war, and Rev. Mr. Swigert was forced to resign his charge in favor of Rev. Jacob H. Wright, who served them from 1864 to 1881. After him came Revs. R. B. Starks, 1881-85; Samuel Krider, 1886-89; J. W. Hutchison, 1889-90; S. V. Dye, 1891-92; William Hesse, 1893-97; J. W. Tressler and J. A. Flickinger, 1899-1900; J. M. Hankey, 1900-03; C. L. Wisswaesser, 1903-10; and Rev. C. F. Miller, the present incumbent.
The present membership is 67, and the Sabbath school, 55. Three churches are n the charge of Rev. Mr. Miller.
Plum Creek Presbyterian Church was organized by the "Old Redstone Presbytery" prior to 1830. The congregation, about that year, erected a stone edifice two miles northeart of Elderton, between Plum creek and one of its western branches, now the site of the thriving village of Gastown. The facts of its early history are obscure. Rev. E. D. Barrett a graduate of Williams College, and a classmate of William Cullen Bryant, gave one half his time to that church for one year, while he was pastor of Glade Run Church. He, Bryant, and Charles F. Segwick, of Sharon, Conn., were the only surviving members of their class in the centennial year. That church was demitted in 1839 on account of the dilapidated condition of the edifice, its remoteness from Elderton and the organization of another church, so that it seldon afterward had even supplies. The Blairsville Presbytery disbanded it in 1845 and attached its members to other churches.
The Cherry Run Presbyterian Church was organized by the Blairsville Presbytery in 1844. Its edifice is a neat frame, situated about a hundred rods southeast of Whitesburg, on the Kittanning and Indiana turnpike. This church was supplied by the late Rev. John Stark until 1858, he having dissolved his connection with the Associate Reformed and having been ordained as an evangelist in the Presbyterian church. After his labors ceased Rev. M. M. Shirley was its pastor until 1866; Rev. G. K. Scott from 1867 to 1869. It has since been occasionally supplied. Members in 1880, 92; Sabbath school, 85.
Mount Union Reformed and Lutheran congregations were organized in 1869 at the McCullough schoolhouse, Rev. Frederick Wise of the Reformed, and Rev. J. H. Wright of the Lutherans. The congregations incorporated jointly and erected a frame building in 1870. During communion service in 1862 the church was burned, and the present brick structure was built in 1874 at a cost of $3,000. The first church council of the Lutherans consisted of John Schaeffer and Adam Linsenbigler, elders, and David and Philip Rupert, deacons. The members of the first Reformed consistory were Aaron Smith, Obadiah Rupert and Adam Smith. The Lutheran pastors have been: Revs. J. H. Wright, 1869-81; R. B. Starks, 1881-85; Samuel Krider, 1886-89; S. V. Dye, 1889-93; William Hesse, 1893-95; C. M. Wachter, 1895-98; J. E. F. Hassinger, 1899-1902; J. M. Hankey, 1902-10; C. F. Miller, 1910 to the present time. The membership is 87 and the Sabbath School has 65 scholars.
St. Paul's Reformed Church, two miles northeast of Whitesburg, was under the charge of Rev. A. H. Kline in 1876 and had one hundred members.
St. Thomas' Church, Reformed, six miles north of Elderton had about fifty members in 1876.
The German Baptist or Dunkard Church separated from the Cowanshannock church in 1863 and built a home one mile southeast of Elderton, naming it Plum Creek church. It was first under the care of Rev. Lewis Kimmel and had over one hundred members in 1976.
The Methodist Episcopals have a church at Whitesburg, under the charge of the Rev. William Hamilton.
SCHOOLS OF THE TOWNSHIP
The first schoolhouse within the present limits of Plum Creek township was erected in 1792 on the old John Sturgeon farm, in the northeastern part of the township, half a mile from an old blockhouse that stood just over the Indiana county line. It was similar to most of the original temples of knowledge built by pioneers of hte county, and the first teacher was Robert Orr Shannon.
The second schoolhouse was located on land of Absalom Woodward, in the southeastern part of the township, being taught by a Mr. Donahoo, who remained as late as 1802.
Schoolhouses were located after these at various convenient points, the teachers of which were: Henry Ruffner, Cornelius Roley, William St. Clair, Rev. John Kirkpatrick, Miss Ann Fulton, John Sturgeon and Anthony O' Baldwin. All of these schoolhouses were primitive log ones. The free school system was readily adopted in 1835, and the requisite number of a rather better kind of log houses were erected, at suitable distances, throughout the township, which have since been replaced by comfortable frame ones.
In 1860 the number of schools was 14; average months taught, 4; male teachers, 11; female teachers, 3; average salaries of male, per month, $12; average salaries of females, $12; male scholars, 387; female scholars 325; average number attending school, 396; amount levied for school purposes, $1,100; for building, $300; received from State appropriation, $176.61; from collectors, $1,05779; cost of teaching each scholar per month, 31 cents; cost of instruction, $672; fuel , contingencies, $195; building, renting, repairing schoolhouses, $310.
In 1876 the number of schools (exclusive of three in that part of South Bend taken from the Plum Creek township) was 14; average months taught, 5; male teachers, 11; female teachers, 3; average salaries, male, per month, $30.45; average salaries, females, per month, $27; male scholars, 310; female scholars, 248; average number attending school, 375; cost per month, 77 cents; amount of tax levied for school and building purposes, $3,644.57; received from State appropriation, $407.34; from taxes, etc., $2,827.71; cost of schoolhouses, $771.05, teachers' salaries, $2,080; fuel , contingencies, collectors'fees, etc., $384.
The number of schools in 1913 was 16; average months taught, 7; male teachers, 10; female teachers, 6; average salaries, male, $42; females, $40; male scholars, 191; female scholars 221; average attendance, 315; cost per month, $2.09; tax levied, $3574.66; received from State, $2, 511. 54; other sources, $4,155.67; value of schoolhouses, $14,400; teachers' wages, $4,620; fuel, fees, etc., $1,413.77.
The school directors are: D. E. Montgomery, president; N. G. Clark, treasurer; James Nelson, A. L. Johnson.
The chief occupation of the people of this township has been agricultural. The assessment list for 1876 showed the number of clergymen to be 4; physicians, 2; laborers, 52; blacksmiths, 3; millers, 3; wagonmakers, 2; peddlers, 2; mason, 1; saddler, 1; shoemaker, 1; gentleman, 1. Mercantile- Number of stores, 5; in twelfth class, 1; in thirteenth class, 1; in fourteenth class, 3.
The assessment returns for 1913 show: number of acres, 26,091 3/4, valued at $399,500; houses and lots, value, $10,735; horses, 402, value, $21,345, average, $53.09; cows, 472, value, $8,265, average, $17.51; taxable occupations, 598, amount, $5,680; total valuation, $496,141. Money at interest, $37,530.10.
An approxiamate idea of the geological features around Elderton and throughout Plum Creek township is derivable from the following compilation from "Rogers' Geology of Pennsylvania::
On Crooked creek, two and a half miles below Plum Creek, the upper Freeport coal is seen 12 feet above the creek, and 42 inches thick as exposed; it soon dips under the stream. In the bend of Crooked creek the red and variegated shades of the Barren measures, withnodules of hematic ore, occur 45 feet above the stream and fragments of green fossiliferous limestone 30 feet above it. The Pittsburgh coal occurs upon the upland surface three quarters of a mile southeast of this point on Crooked creek.
The black limestone strata are seen rising west under the greenish strata, one quarter of a mile below the bend, and 20 feet above the creek. Over a dark greenish stratum 10 inches thick lies a nodular limestone 5 inches thick; this, again, is capped by green shales. Half a mile below this the upper Freeport coal rises to a height of 51 feet above the water level, and is opened 3 � feet thick; roof bituminous shale, 1 � feet thick.
The ferriferous limestone rises from the creek at Heath's; it is full of small bivalves (terebratula, etc.), is flinty, thinly stratified, dark blue, and 5 feet thick. A quarry of silicious sandstone, greenish-gray and splitting into slabs, has been blasted in the strata, 20 feet above the limestone, which slabs are used for tombstones in Elderton. Sandstones are largely developed in the bed of the creek below the old sawmill. A coal bed 1 � feet thick is there, from 20 to 25 feet above the water; the limestone is nowhere visible. A section made in the lofty sides of the valley at that place is as follows: Mahoning massive sandstone, 50 feet; upper Freeport coal, irregular (estimated to be 200 feet above the creek), 3 feet; unknown, 10 feet; sandstone and shale, 40 feet; Freeport sandstone, 50 feet; coal, a few inches; shale, 16 feet; sandstone, 4 feet; unknown, 41 feet; Kittanning coal (possibly the ferriferous coal) 1 � feet; unknown down the the creek and full of fossils, 6 feet thick.
The depth of an old salt well at this point was said to be 500 feet. A little to the east of this appears to run the highest or axis line of the Roaring run anticlinal flexure. The Freepot limestone, bearing its characteristic minute fossils, has fallen so far in its level by the time it has reached Cochran's mills, 300 years above the next saltworks, that it is but 24 feet above the dam; it is seinodular, and 2 feet thick. The upper Freeport coal over lies it 2 � feet, and is itself 3et thick. It is a thicker bed some hundred yards southwest and the coal outcrop is 10 feet above it. A coalbed is seen at a level 100 feet higher in the hillside. Beneath it is seen a massive sandstone. At the lower saltworks is a coalbed 3 feet thick and 60 feet above the stream.
The highest point in the township is at the headwaters of Cherry run, about a mile northeast of Elderton, and is 1,547 feet above the level of the sea.
Source: Page(s) 193 - 200, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J. H. Beers & Co., 19114.
Transcribed October 1998 by Donna E. Mohney for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by Donna E. Mohney for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)
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