CHAPTER 28
VALLEY TOWNSHIP

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Choosing of Name--Settlers and Industries--Pine Creek Furnace--Religious-Population-- Schools--Geological Features

The first name suggested for this township when the proposition was made to separate it from Pine was that of Judge Buffington, but the Judge opposed it on the grounds that it should not be named after any living person. He suggested the name of Valley, for the reason that most of the territory was traversed by the Cowanshannock creek. This was adopted and the division made in 1855. At the first election, held in the spring of 1856 following, the officers were: Justice of the peace, James J. Tittle; constable, William S. Campbell, judge of election, John B. Starr; inspectors of election, Andrew Waugaman, John I. Sloan; school directors, Robert E. Brown, James K. Tittle, one year; Daniel Slagle, John Robinson, two years; John Howser, Wm. Peart, three years; assessor, John Robinson; township auditors, William Gillis, one year, Hugh Space, two years, George Hill, three years; overseers of the poor, Abraham Fiscus, Abraham Bossinger; township clerk, George W. Speace.

SETTLERS AND INDUSTRIES

The settlement of this township was coincident with that of Rayburn, as the latter was formed in modern times, so reference can be made to the list of names in the sketch of that township. Some of those who settled in the territory now left to Valley township were: Conrad Schreckengost, 1807; Frederick Yockey, 1807; George Waugaman, 1811; George Cravenor, 1817, and Thomas Beer, Daniel Guld and George Williams, 1820. Other landowners and settlers at later dates were: John Davis, Jacob Sleese, Martin Kneas, James Hannegan, Isaac Rhea, B. B. Cooper, William McIntyre, John Howser, George Leighley, Aaron Black, George Stiffey, Charles Moore, William Powers.

The first industry on record in this township was the loom of George Waugaman, who was assessed as a weaver in 1812.

Alexander White built in 1828 the first gristmill, and in 1832 a sawmill, both on Pine creek, between the present sites of Oscar and Pine Furnace settlements. William Love was the next owner in 1839, the mills passing into the successive possession of Joseph Barker, Joseph L. Reed and Francis Martin, being operated until 1880.

Daniel Hepler was the first blacksmith registered in this township in 1828, locating west of the site of Pine furnace.

Major James White built a carding and fulling mill on Pine creek, at the mouth of Dill's run, in 1837. After a year's operation he employed William Gillis, a skilled weaver, and calling the mills the "Pine Creek Woolen Factory" commenced the manufacture of cloth and blankets. This was the first factory in the county, the people having previously had to resort to Indiana county for their cloth. These mills were operated until 1890. The owners from time to time were John Adair, James E. Brown and Brown and Mosgrove.

Findley Patterson erected a gristmill and sawmill in 1833 at the site of the present town of Greendale. Here the first flour shipped to Philadelphia was made. The mills were sold in 1848 to John Kammerdiner, who attempted to operate them with steam, but failed, and the sheriff sold them to David Patterson, who ran them a few years and then abandoned the effort. The "Greendale" postoffice was established here in 1867, with George Bowser as postmaster. Later on in the following year F. S. Bowser opened the mills and ran them until 1880. He also conducted a blacksmith shop and handled the mail. His successor as postmaster and storekeeper was Andrew H. Warner, in 1890.

Findley Patterson was elected county commissioner in 1837, State senator in 1838, revenue commissioner in 1843, member of the Assembly in 1845, made speaker of the House in 1845, appointed revenue commissioner in 1847, was a member of the school board for many years, and in 1857 appointed receiver of the land office in Kansas.

In 1850 William Peart started the settlement on Pine creek, near the eastern border of this township, which he named "Oscar." Francis Martin was the first postmaster here in 1861. He also operated a store.

Daniel Schreckengost built a two-story brick house in 1844 near the site of West Valley, where he kept an inn. One of the first and unsuccessful oil wells was sunk here in 1872.

Here the "Davis" postoffice was opened in 1857, Daniel Davis being in charge. It was later consolidated with the "West Valley" postoffice, the latter opened in 1861, at the home of Daniel Slagle. There is no postoffice there now. W. W. Egly has a blacksmith shop there in 1913.

PINE GROVE FURNACE

This iron mill was the result of the labors of James E. Brown and James Mosgrove, in 1845-46. It was first operated with charcoal, but soon the forests were exhausted and coke was substituted in 1865. By 1879 the price of pig iron was $16 per ton and the furnace ceased to be a paying proposition. A three-foot railroad was built by the firm in 1869, which was called the Pine Creek & Dayton Railroad, as it was projected to run to that town. but the furnace closure nipped the plans in the bud, and not even the site of the road can be seen now.

Quite a settlement arose around the furnace and in 1880 the place might have been called a town, having stores, a church and a schoolhouse, besides numerous houses.

RELIGIOUS

The Pine Creek Baptist Church is the outgrowth of occasional itinerant preaching in this region before and regular preaching after 1836. There were occasional supplies by Revs. Thomas and Wilson. The church was organized with ten members in 1830, on which occasion Revs. Wilson, McCumber and Scott officiated. The first church edifice, frame, 24 by 32 feet, was erected in 1841. The present one, a neat frame, 38 by 45 feet, was erected on the site of the old one in 1876. The original members of this church were Joseph Davis, Daniel Hepler, Sarah Hepler, James Hall, Nancy Hall, Margaret Walker, Harriet Peart, Robert Walker and Tabitha Walker. The site of the church is just west of the old furnace, near a small run. It is served by Rev. James McPhail, of the Walkchalk church, in East Franklin township.

Mount Union Reformed Church is located near the settlement of "West Valley." It is a frame structure, 36 by 40 feet, which was erected in 1850. This church was organized by Rev. L. B. Leberman in 1851. Its pastors have been: Rev. F. Wire from 1853 till October, 1853; Rev. E. Shoemaker in 1860; Rev. R. R. Duffenbosker from May 30, 1862, till 1864; Rev. J. F. Snyder in 1865; Rev. J. J. Pennypacker from 1867 till 1872, and Rev. D. S. Duffenbosker, 1873. Its membership in 1880 was 83; Sabbath school scholars, 60. Like many of the old country churches, it is only occasionally used now. The present pastor is Rev. H. S. Garner, pastor of the Dayton Church.

The Pine Creek Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1846, and the building standing now just south of the old furnace was erected in 1873. Before its completion services were held in the "Furnace Schoolhouse." Preaching is had here occasionally by Rev. A. E. Curry.

POPULATION

The mercantile appraiser's list shows 4 stores in the fourteenth and 1 in the eleventh class in 1876.

Occupations other than agricultural, according to the assessment list for 1876: Furnace managers, 2; laborers, 102; miners, 5; teamsters, 4; carpenters, 3; shoemakers, 3; blacksmiths, 2; hucksters, 2; millers, 2; bookkeeper, 1; bricklayer, 1; butcher, 1; clerk, 1; coker, 1; cooper, 1; grocer, 1; harness maker, 1; marble cutter, 1; pit boss, 1; printer, 1; school teacher, 1; sexton, 1.

The population of the township in 1860 was 1,552; in 1870, 1,821; in 1880, 1,861; in 1890, 1,602; in 1900, 539; in 1910, 452.

The assessment returns for 1913 show: number of acres, 8,900, valued at $14,616; houses and lots, 12, value, $4,450, average, $370.83; horses, 112, value, $5,495, average, $49.02; cows, 119, value, $1,428, average, $12; taxable occupations, 171, amount, $1,790; total valuation, $33,145,80. Money at interest, $22,526.

SCHOOLS

The first schools of this township are the same as those mentioned in the sketch of Rayburn, as the two were one in early days, and settlements were concentrated in the western part.

1860--Number of schools, 9; average number months taught, 4; male teachers, 5; female teachers, 4; average monthly salaries of male teachers, $16.60; average monthly salaries of female teachers, $16; male scholars, 210; female scholars, 156; average number attending school, 246; cost of teaching each scholar per month, 42 cents; tax levied for school purposes, $674.10; tax levied for building purposes, $421.32; received from State appropriation, $104.64; from collectors, $561; cost of instruction, $572; fuel, etc., $62, repairs, $10.

1876--Number of schools, 13; average number months taught, 5; male teachers, 5; female teachers, 8; average salaries of male teachers per month, $28.60; average salaries of female teachers per month, $26.75; male scholars, 316; female scholars, 305; average number attending school, 240; cost per month, 61 cents; tax levied for school and building purposes, $3,309.12; received from State appropriation, $412.92; from taxes, etc., $2,160.57; cost of schoolhouses, $210.70; paid for teachers' wages, $1785; fuel, etc., $284.24.

In 1913 the number of schools was 4; months taught, 7; male teachers, 2; female teachers, 2; average salaries, male, $40; female, $45; male scholars, 43; female scholars, 41; average attendance, 70; cost per month, each scholar, $2.72; tax levied, $1,344.98; received from State, $639.39; other sources, $2,582.73; value of schoolhouses, $5,300; teachers' wages, $1,190; other expenses, $2,032.12.

The school directors are: D. J. Waughaman, president; John Donihey, secretary; C. W. Runyan, treasurer; A. K. Cogley, G. M. Wingard.

GEOLOGICAL FEATURES

The uplands have a thin covering of lower barren rocks. These are the measures which make the summit of the ridge which the Anderson Creek road traverses. The lower productive measures are exposed along the Cowanshannock and Pine creeks throughout the entire township. The hills skirting the river from Kittanning borough to the mouth of Pine creek and beyond consist mainly of these rocks. The Pottsville conglomerate, sixty feet thick, rises to the day over an area extending from Quigley's mill nearly to the mouth of Hays' run, and this rock makes the sandstone bowlders along the river's edge. The upper Freeport coal and limestone, the lower Freeport coal, the upper and lower Kittanning coals, the fireclay underlying the lower Kittanning coal, the ferriferous limestone and the fireclay underlying it, have all in turn been developed. The ferriferous limestone is above the Cowanshannock from John C. Rhea's property nearly to below the Hague schoolhouse, between it and the Robinson farm, and is above the waters of Pine creek a like distance and extending to Pine Creek furnace, and supports here the buhrstone ore; along the river front it is continuous above waterlevel from the southern to the northern end of the township. The structure is somewhat complicated by the gradually diminishing force of the anticlinal axis, which crosses the river near the site of the old Allegheny furnace. This gradual decline of the axis gives to the rocks a southwest dip down the river rather than the usual and normal incline toward the northwest and southeast. Another and well-developed anticlinal crosses the Cowanshannock near Greendale, where it lifts the Pottsville conglomerate to daylight, and it crosses Pine creek near Oscar postoffice.

A slight undulation is suspected to pass from the neighborhood of Scrubgrass creek through the neighborhood of Allegheny Furnace, crossing local northwest dips.

The ferriferous limestone is seen on Reynolds' farm, one mile north of the borough, where the Kittanning coal is twenty feet above it; on Nulton's land, north of the courthouse, it is four feet thick, and is divided by a thin slate about one foot from the top.

The highest point in the township is slightly southwest of Oscar, and has an altitude of 1,567 feet.

Source: Page(s) 211-230, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J. H. Beers & Co., 19114.
Transcribed July 1998 by James R. Hindman for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by James R. Hindman for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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