Chapter 31

Pine Township




Pine creek, which flows along the northern border of the township, is the source of the name of this division of Armstrong county. It was originally named �Pine Creek Township,� but at the time of the separation of Boggs from its territory the name was changed to the present one. The boundaries of the township originally were: 

�By a line commencing at the place where the purchase line crosses the line of the township of Kittanning at the corner of Wayne township; thence by said township to the Mahoning creek; thence down said creek and the Allegheny river to the Borough of Kittanning; thence by the same to the said purchase line to the place of beginning, about equally dividing Kittanning township.� 

The date of its separation from Kittanning township is June 20, 1836. It was further shorn of territory in 1878 by the erection of Boggs township.


Among the first landowners and settlers of this section were:

 John Elliott, Archibald McCall, Peter Brice, Robert Thompson, Abraham Parkinson, William Elliott, J. B. McLean, William West, Richard Childerston, David Lawson, Robert Orr, Philip Templeton, Robert Thompson, James Mosgrove, John Toy, James Calhoun, James Calhoun, William Lowrey, Ethan Chilcott, A. P. Moderwell, Francis Dobbs, Samuel Hutchison, Stephen Bayard, William Turnbull, Willian Peart, Walter Sloan, Hugh R. Rutherford, James H. Walker, Charles Campbell, Tate Allison, James McCauley, Alexander McAllister, David White, Abraham Walker, Samuel Wallace, Thomas Duncan, Thomas Stewardson, Samuel Mateer, William Oliver, John P. Brown, David Dever, John Kneas, Robert Martin, William Stewart, Hugh Williamson, James Nolder, John Cochran, Barnabas Reedy, James McGinnis, Robert Patrick, Adam Reilstein, John Houser, John Adams, Martin McCoy, William Anthony, I. H. McGee, Christian Shunk, Alexander Laughlin, William Phillips, Alexander Oliver, Noah A. Calhoun, Peter Seegrist, Solomon Seegrest, John Zimmerman, B. B. Cooper, William Dill, George Dill, Moses Dill, Simon Robinson, Alexander White, Alexander McCain, Francis Powers, John Yorkey, Henry Bossinger, James Hannegan, John Ludwig, Peter Beck, Robert Morris, John Nicholson, Abraham Zimmerman, David Dormire, Barnabas Reedy, Daniel Reedy, John Edwards, James Stockville, David Baum, Jonathan C. Titus, William Heffelfinger, John Mortimore, Thomas Richey, John Gould, Anthony Hoover, William H. Barrett. 

William Turnbill, one of the early settlers, was one of the patriots who financed the Revolutionary army at a most critical period. He built the first sawmill at the mouth of Pine creek in 1790. He was repeatedly raided by spies and Indians during occupancy of this tract. He sold his holdings in 1806 to William Pearst, who rebuilt the sawmill and added a gristmill. The mills were finally destroyed in 1813 by a severe freshet. 


The mouth of the Mahoning was probably the site of an Indian camp for many years. Early writers speak of it as an Indian settlement, and it was designated as �Mahoning �T.� on Reading Howells�s map of 1792; This and �I. T.� , for Indian towns, on the Historical Map of Pennsylvania, were on the Elliott tract. It was a Seneca or Cornplanter town. It is not known when it was founded-probably before 1790. When Peter Brice came here in 1804 it consisted of about thirty huts and one hundred and fifty people. 

The Indians engaged in hunting and fishing and the squaws raised the corn, which they kept in a hole about four feet deep in the ground, shaped like an earthen dish. They were friendly to Brice and his family. The friendship was mutual, not only between those who lived there but others from the upper Allegheny who sometimes stopped here. 

A party of the latter reached here on an autumn day, between 1804 and 1810. After drawing their canoes out on dry land and partaking of Brice�s hospitality, they proceeded to the hills back from the river, where they spent several days in hunting and returned laden with game. The river having risen in the meantime their canoes would have been swept down-stream if Brice had not secured them. When those Indians became cognizant of the facts, and especially the kindness of Brice, they expressed their gratification by dancing, singing and shouting. In those times bears, deer, wolves, panthers and wild turkeys were abundant along and back from the river. 

When Brice was farming a portion of the river bottom below Whiskey run, he found many large blue, red and white beads, flint darts six inches long, little tomahawks with round poles, and pieces of wire five or six inches long filled with scalps of wild ducks. Here, too, the English and French traders may have bartered beads, trinkets and other commodities to the Indians for their more valuable pelts, furs and other articles. This may possibly have anciently been a busy mart for that kind of commerce. 

James McCullough, Sr., of Kittanning, saw a log cabin here when he first descended the Allegheny in 1820, and Jonathan E. Meredith also remembered having seen several of the same kind, possibly fishermen�s huts, when he passed here in 1827. The �Orrsville� post office was established here in May, 1838, and Anson Pinney was appointed postmaster. Among his successors were Joseph A. Knox and Thomas Meredith. This place was thereafter called Orrsville, so named after the owner of the land on which the town is built. 

Charles B. Schotte, the owner of the �Humboldt Gardens� in Kittanning township, was employed by the owner of �Springfield� to build a hotel-the first frame structure erected here-in 1836, which he completed the next year, and which was successively kept by him, Pinney, William Templeton, Chambers Orr, John Wallace, and others. Schotte remembers that before its erection there was not a vistige of another building within the limits of �Orrsville.� About an acre of ground, on which is the site of that hotel, had the appearance of having been cleared years before. 

He also built for the proprietor the warehouse at the south side of the mouth of the creek which was extended out somewhat over the bank of the river for the purpose of conveniently receiving such freight as might be landed here from the steamboats. The town of Mahoning now occupies this point, which will probably increase in importance since the completion of the Shawmut railroad, which runs along the northern bank of the Mahoning. The Mahoning station of this road is just across the creek from the town, and is a new steel county bridge has been erected since the railroad began service in 1913. 

J. M. White is the storekeeper and postmaster at Mahoning. The distillery at this point was first operated by William Templeton in 1826. It was later conveyed to the Mahoning Distilling Company, which has since ceased operations. McCanna Brothers also have a store here. 


The first settler on the tract where the town of Templeton now is located was Abraham Parkinson, who was assessed with 400 acres in 1803, but afterward abandoned it. Peter Brice (colored) settled there next in 1804, and many years was the only colored resident in this section. About 1873 there were at least sixty-five colored families here, and they formed a greater proportion of the population. At present most of them have removed to the cities. 

The run at this point was for years called Parkinson�s until the establishment of the Ore Hill furnace, when the quantities of liquor used by the workmen caused the change of name to �Whisky run.� 

Ore Hill furnace was built in 1845, by Cochran, Dobbs & Co., on the banks of the run, and was of the same type as those of that period, using charcoal. In 1856 in forty weeks it produced 1,525 tons of iron. After exhausting the supply of wood in that region, it went out of blast in 1857. 

Robert Walker operated a distillery here in 1804, and from this source later on the operatives at the furnace received the stimulus that caused the change of name to Whisky run. 


Christian Shunk, who had made the manufacture of iron a specialty and by his close and varied observation become a good judge of suitable locations, in 1851 selected the site of Stewardson furnace and the adjacent lands containing the requisite material for that manufacture. He, Alexander Laughlin and William Phillips erected this furnace and purchased various tracts of land. William and Robert McCutcheon conveyed to them 2,601 acres and 123 perches of the Wallis-Duncan-Stewardson lands, for $12,358.40.

 This furnace was situated about 375 rods slightly north of east in an air line from mouth of Mahoning, in a deep northern bend of this stream. It was built for coke in 1851, but was not then successful, and was changed to a charcoal hot blast until the spring of 1855, when coke was successfully substituted. Its first product of pig-iron was in 1852. Shunk conveyed all his interest in this furnace to Laughlin & Phillips, for $5,000. 

The furnace was burned down in September, 1858. It was soon rebuilt and went into blast in January, 1859. Its stack was forty feet high, the distance across the bosh being eleven and a half feet. This furnace produced in thirty-two weeks, in 1856, 1,147 tons of pig-metal-120 tons of which were by coke-out of limestone carbonate ore from the coal measures two miles around. 

The number of dwelling houses for proprietors and employees was forty, nearly all frame, one and a half story. The proprietors� residence, a two story brick, 38 by 52 feet, was built in 1861, at a cost of $6,000; six of the Employees buildings were brick, one-story. A store was connected with the furnace, in which a general assortment of merchandise was kept, varying in value from $4,000 to $5,000. 

The quantity of land belonging to its proprietors in Pine and Madison townships was about 3,100 acres. The sawmill on Scrubgrass run was erected in 1866-7. After the death of Alexander Laughlin, Sr., this furnace and property became vested in his sons Franklin B. and Alexander Laughlin, by whom as partners it was operated until the modern methods of operation and the cheap Lake Superior ore caused its suspension, 1880. 


The second settler on the present site of Templeton, after Peter Brice, was William Templeton, from whom the town is named. He was first assessed here 1824. Here he started a distillery in 1826, which was located where the first Pennsylvania water tank was standing in 1876. The house in which he lived was in the lower part of the tract, where it is widest, between the river and the curve in the railroad, in front of each swung for several years the sign of the Green Tree, painted by James McCullough, Sr., on the 7th day of April, 1828, which indicates that he kept there a public house, though not assessed as an innkeeper. 

Chambers and Robert Orr resided several years on this part of the tract after Tempeton removed to the mouth of Mahoning. Templeton in 1913 has grown to be quite a thriving town and will probably be shortly incorporated as a borough. The population is about 300. There are six stores in the town, one hotel and other necessary establishments. The American Natural Gas Company has a large pumping station here. The principal industry is the Hay-Walker Brick Works, operating 22 kilns and employing 100 men. S. C. Redinger & Sons operate at sawmill and lumber yard. Otto Thompson and J. K. Gearhart are the leading merchants. J. N. Rebott is proprietor of the hotel. Daniel Slagle is resident justice of the peace. 

Templeton Presbyterian Church was established in 1890 and the present pastor is Rev. Charles Cochrane. The Free Methodist Church is supplied by Rev. William Ward. The Methodist Episcopal Church was built here in 1892. Rev. S. M. Cousins is pastor of this congregation, also serving that of Manorville. 

The resident physicians are Drs. Geo. E. Cramer and Thomas H. Newcome. Dr. Charles H. Shadle, a noted practitioner, died this year. 


 In giving the early statistics of Pine township it is necessary to include that of Boggs, as the latter deprived Pine of most of its territory in the division. The population of the township in 1860 was 1,521; in 1870, 1,642; in 1880, 728; in 1890, 522; in 1900, 369; in 1910, 867. 

The assessment list for 1876 shows: Miners, 71; laborers, 67; teamsters, 8; blacksmiths, 4; carpenters, 4; physicians, 4; preachers, 3; railroad bosses, 3; stonemasons, 3; clerks, 3; peddlers, 3; fillers, 3; agents, 2; keepers, 2; engineers, 2; millers, 2; gentlemen, 2; apprentice, 1; barkeeper, 1; cokedrawer, 1; innkeeper, 1; coke boss, 1; manager, 1; quarryman, 1; painter, 1; undertaker, 1; wagonmaker, 1; telegraph operator, 1. 

The assessment returns for 1913 show: Number of acres, 2, 284, valued at $37,147; houses and lots, 332, valued at $69,560; average $209.51; horses, 31, value, $1,175, average, $34.67; cows, 22, value, $325, average, $14.77; taxable occupations, 290, amount, $9,975; total valuation, $144,222. Money at interest, $7,937.40 


The first schoolhouse in the present limits of Pine township was a log building, situated near White�s run in the southeaster part, and was taught by Wright Elliott between 1805 and 1811. In 1860 the number of schools was 7; average number of months taught, 4; male teachers, 4; female teachers, 3; average monthly salaries of male, $16.50, female, $16; male scholars, 190; female scholars, 168; average number attending school, 168; cost teaching each per month, 38 cents; tax levied for school purposes, $639.74; received from State appropriation, $125.95; from collectors, $334.75; cost of instruction, $464; fuel and contingencies, $86.95; repairing schoolhouses, $10.87. In 1876 the number of school was 12; average number of months taught, 5; male teachers, 5; female, 7; average monthly salaries of male, $28, female, $25; male scholars, 244; female scholars, 231; average number attending school, 247; cost teaching each per month, 74 cents; tax levied for school and building purposes, $2,284.10; received from State appropriation, $335.73; from taxes and other sources, $2,499.28; cost, building schoolhouses, etc., $771.05; teachers� wages, $2,080; fuel, collectors�s fees, etc., $384. Number of schools in 1913, 6; average months taught, 7; female teachers, 6; average salaries, female, $45; male scholars, 100; female scholars, 107; average attendance, 145; cost per month, $1.54; tax levied, $2,076.26; received from State, $1,060.30; other sources, $2,075.13; value of schoolhouses, $4,779; teachers� wages, $1,890; fuel, fees, etc., $925.42. The school directors are: John M. White, president; J. F. Carpenter, secretary; T. A. McCanna, treasurer; Charles D. Fair, John Bechtel. 


The following section, the lower portions of which were taken from the Mahoning creek near its mouth, and the upper portions on the south side of the creek, behind the tavern house occupied by William Templeton in 1836, was made before Boggs was separated from Pine, in the course of the first geological survey of this State, under the superintendence of Prof. Henry D. Rogers: Ferriferous limestone, 15 feet; shale (ore), 35 feet; Clarion coal, 2-1/2 feet; shale, etc., 20 feet; Brookville coal, 1 foot; Tionesta coal, 1-1/2 feet; Serel conglomerate, massive, also shaly, 100 feet; shale, sandy, partly carbonaceous, with seams of calcareous sandstone, from 1 inch to 0 inches thick, 20 feet; bituminous shale, 3 inches; Sharon coal, 2-1/2 inches; shale, sandy above, bituminous below, 3-1/2 feet; coal, 6 inches; thin bituminous slate, with stone silicious layers, 11 feet; coal, 1-1/2 inches; blue sandy clay, 2 feet; slaty sandstone, 25 to 30 feet, to the level of Mahoning creek. These soon disappear beneath the waters, with a dip of 5 degrees S., 120 degrees east. 

None of the hills around are high enough to have the Lower Freeport coalbed, but both the Freeport limestone and Upper Freeport coalbed are seen on Scrubgrass creek, which enters the Mahoning two miles above its mouth. The coal is often so thinned away as to disappear and let the Mahoning sandstone rest upon the Freeport limestone. This is the case at the exposure on the north branch of Pine creek, where the Mahoning sandstone is exposed, sixty feet thick, cropping the hill. Here the lower shales of the interval between the two Freeport coalbeds are dark brown and black, and contain layers of argillaceous iron ore. There is a slight local dip to the west. The same rocks make the surface as those of Wayne, such of the lower barrens as are represented being found in the ridges which form the watersheds between the north and south forks of Pine creek; and the north fork of Pine creek and the Mahoning, and are of no commercial value. The lower productive measures outcrop in all the slopes overlooking the principal streams, the entire group being represented. 

The Upper Freeport and Lower Kittanning coals are in workable condition, and they have been developed, each accompanied by its limestone. The Upper Freeport coal has with it a bed of fireclay of fine quality, but somewhat unreliable in its outspread. This is being worked at Templeton. The Clarion and Brookville coals, beneath the ferriferous limestone, are valuless, by reason of their small size, though above water level. The Pottsville Conglomerate is magnificently exposed in the neighborhood of Templeton, forming cliffs forty feet high. It runs along the slopes northwardly from there to and up the valley of the Mahoning, sinking to water level beyond the site of the Stewardson furnace. The rocks lie mainly in the Fairmount synclinal, of which Peart�s Eddy is the center. Here the ferriferous limestone is at its lowest level along the river front, the rise north and south being short and rapid.


The levels above tide along the Pennsylvania railroad in this township before Boggs was separated from it, were: 

Opposite Mosgrove station, 812.1 feet; northwest outside corner Pine creek bridge abutment, one-tenth of a mile higher up the track, 812.1 feet; southwest corner of water station platform, two and a half miles higher up the track, 822.4 feet; southwest corner of bridge abutment, one mile and two-tenths higher up the track, 821.6 feet; opposite Templeton station, five-tenths of a mile higher up the track, 823.8 feet; opposite Mahoning station, nine-tenths of a mile higher up the track, 824.3 feet. The highest point in the township is located in the eastern end, near the Mahoning, being 1,466 feet above sea level.

Source: Page(s) 230-234, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J. H. Beers & Co., 19114.
Transcribed August 2001 by Linda M Stitt for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by Linda M Stitt for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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