Beers Historical Record
Volume I
Chapter 42
West Franklin Township


By a division of portions of Buffalo and Sugar Creek townships in 1830 the township of Franklin was formed, and in 1868 it was further divided into East and West Franklin. The dimensions of the latter are 26 1/4 square miles.

At the first election held in West Franklin the following township officers were elected: Justices of the peace, William Claypoole; constable, R.J. Atwell; supervisors, Peter Kerr, J.T. McCurdy; school directors, Christopher Leard for three years; J.C. Minteer, for two years; Peter Kerr, for one year; overseers of the poor, Christopher Leard, James Minteer; assessor, J.Y. Minteer; judge of election, J.C. Morrison; inspectors of election, James Claypoole, J.A. Minteer; auditors, John F. Brown, Samuel Dumm; treasurer, John Craig, Jr.; clerk, William Claypoole.


Some of the earlier settlers of this township were: Thomas Hindman, James Brown, Thomas McKee, Daniel Boyle, William Ramsey, Manassah Coyle, Miles McCue, Patrick McBride, Edward Wiggins, A.L. LeDoo, James P. Hartman, J.T. Hohn, Nathaniel Patterson, John Y. Stewart, Philip Templeton, Peter Pence, Martin Guiser, Joshua Nickle, Edward Wiggins, William Denny, James Kinsley, Andrew Hindman, John Donaldson, Andrew Minteer, Samuel Milligan, John Milligan, James Hindman, John Douglass, Archibald McCullough, Abraham Smith, Nicholas Clark, James Blain, William Blain, Samuel Taylor, A. McCall, Eben S. Kelly, Ludwig Guiser, William F. Rumbarger, John Crawshaw, Frederick Ruth, William Stevenson, John Craig, Aaron Wor, James Karr, Isaac Firth, James Gallagher, Samuel Massey, William Minteer, Archibald McCullough, Isaac Bole, James Offutt, James Sample, David Goldinger, John Sheridan, James Millen, John Rogers, Cornelius McFadden, Mark McLaughlin, Archibald Tanner, James McCarren, Peter McAnamy, Michael Kyle, Jacob Yost, George Holobough, John Hoover, William Beatty, Thomas Hooks, Valentine Bowser, George Monroe, Robert Noble, James Claypoole, George Claypoole, William Todd, Abraham Nilson, John Ross, Samuel Porterfield, Gen. Andrew Porter, Gilbert Wright, James Barr, Timothy Lennington, James Sumerville, Francis A. Regis, Jonathan Titus, Joseph T. McCundy, Ann M. O�Connor, William Younkins, Jane Garraway, Patrick Hervey, Samuel Shields, Andrew Messenheimer, Presley Irwin, Jacob Hepler, Christian Keuson, Nathaniel Patterson.

One of the early owners of land in this township was Gen. Andrew Porter, a citizen of Montgomery, Pa., who was a surveyor and engineer and captain in a Pennsylvania regiment in the Revolutionary war, enduring in common with other patriots the horrors of the winter camp at Valley Forge.

James Barr, another old settler, was a native of Lancaster county, removing to this section in 1790. He was successively a member of the State Constitutional convention, associate judge of Westmoreland county, trustee and associate justice of Armstrong county. He died in 1820, aged seventy-one years.

The most remarkable and successful of the pioneers of this township, and one who has left the impress of his personality upon the history of this section, was Peter Graff, a native of Westmoreland county and a descendant of a well known family of Mannheim, Germany. He came to West Franklin in 1844 and assumed charge of the Buffalo furnace. Later he erected the present woolen mill at Big Buffalo creek. For the entire time he resided in this township he was constantly endeavoring to advance the interests of the inhabitants, both physically and spiritually. He was a lifetime member of the Lutheran church and at his death his sons erected a memorial chapel at Worthington to his memory.


The waterpower furnished by Big Buffalo creek was a strong inducement to the first settlers to construct mills and factories. The first establishment was the old Buffalo furnace, which was organized in 1839-40 by Nicholas Biddle, formerly president of the Bank of the United States; Henry D. Rodgers, the eminent geologist who had charge of the first geological survey of this State and was subsequently professor of geology in the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, whose death was deeply lamented by the scientific world; John C. McKinney, one of the corps of geologists in that survey; Roswell L. Colt, and perhaps one or two others, and of which McKinney was the manager. It was a steam cold blast charcoal furnace, its stack 35 feet high and 8 feet across the bosh. The weekly product of this furnace, for the first few years after it went into blast, was 33 tons, the number of employees being 100. That furnace company became embarrassed in 1841 and the furnace and land, aggregating 563 acres, were sold by the sheriff in 1844 to Reuben Baughman, Peter Graff and Jacob Painter, for $7,200. Its business was conducted from the fall of 1843 under the firm name of P. Graff & Co., who built a new charcoal furnace, with a better blast, and in which ore of a better quality was used. The two furnaces, from 1846 and on, produced weekly, on an average, when in full blast, 80 tons, the number of employees being 150. The latter company, who were successful, closed their furnaces permanently in 1864. The present gristmill, brick, three-story, with four runs of stone, was erected near the furnace, in 1846. It is still run by the old dam on the creek opposite the Peter Graff homestead, but the power is produced by a modern turbine wheel.

The first tannery was started in this township by John Shields in 1816. Robert Long built a sawmill in 1828 in the northern part of the township, and in 1854 James Minteer operated one in the northwestern end. They had been preceded, however, in 1808 by Judge Barr, who built a sawmill on his land on Glade run, afterward adding a gristmill. A sawmill was also operated on Long run in 1846 by James McDowell, and a gristmill in the same locality by John Mounts in 1806. James Sheridan in 1824 was assessed with a distillery on his tract near the line of Butler county. It is now entirely destroyed.


These famous mills were erected in 1865 by Peter Graff and Isaac Firth on Big Buffalo, between the south bank of the run and the creek. The mill was originally run by the dam on the creek above, and consisted of one building. Its original dimensions, three stories, 70 by 35 feet, were increased in 1867 by the addition of 60 by 35 feet, of the same height. The other original buildings consist of a ware and wool house, two-story, 50 by 25 feet, a stone dryhouse, 60 by 25 feet. In 1876 a new woolhouse and a new storehouse, each two-story, 40 by 35 feet, were erected. The machinery consisted of 8 carding machines, 2 self-acting mules, with 384 spindles to each, and a spinning jack, with 180 spindles, used for twisting stocking yarn, and for doubling and twisting yarn for cassimeres. There were 13 looms, wide and narrow, for weaving jeans, blankets, flannels, cassimeres and fine cassimeres. The mules and a considerable part of the other machinery, the latest and best, at that date, were made in England. There was also all the other machinery required for fulling and finishing. The number of employees at that date was 25, and the amount of wool used annually was 80,000 pounds.

In 1886 the firm was composed of Peter Graff, E.D. Graff, J. Frank Graff and James E. Claypoole. In 1890 Peter Graff died and in 1912 his son, E.D. Graff, also passed away. The surviving partners continue the business under the same name as in the past.

At this date (1913) the mills are devoted exclusively to the production of all-wool blankets, which are sold all over the Union and are held as the standard of perfection in that field. Six buildings are in use and house over sixty employees, who operate 12,000 spindles, producing 50,000 pairs of blankets annually. It requires 265,000 pounds of domestic scoured wool to manufacture that number of bed coverings. Two gas engines of 60 and 100 horsepower run the machinery, and the plant is valued at $100,000.

The Peter Graff Milling Company is also run in connection with the mills and is owned by J. Frank Graff and Peter Graff, III.


Just north of the forks of the Big and Little Buffalo creeks lies a tract of land which was settled in 1793 by William Stephenson and Aaron Wor, who held the land under John Craig. In 1805 Samuel, son of John Craig, erected a fulling-mill on the banks of the creek and in 1814 added a carding roll, carrying on the business until 1835, when in partnership with his brother John and Robert Cooper he began the manufacture of flannels, blankets and woolen goods. In 1843, the building was burned, but soon thereafter rebuilt. In 1856 the firm consisted of the Craigs and William F. Rumberger, under the firm name of Craig & Rumberger. At this date the firm supplied the troops at Camp Orr with a large number of blankets in the fall of 1861, but up to the present date no payment has been made to them for these most necessary supplies. In 1867 Rumberger purchased Craig�s interest for $10,000, took as partner John P. Scott, and the firm became Rumberger & Co. On an unlucky Friday night in December, 1871, just twenty-eight years from the date of the first fire, an employee attempted to fill a large lighted lamp, with the usual result. The fire was not long cooled ere the rebuilding of the plant began, and under the name of Rumberger, Gregg & Co. the business for a time prospered. At that time 1,000 yards of flannel and 216 pairs of socks were manufactured daily. After 1880 the firm was at various times called W.F. Rumberger & Son, W.F. Rumberger & Co., Ross, Burford & Co., J. Alex. Ross & Co., and finally the Craigsville Woolen Manufacturing Company at the present date. The firm now consists of W.F. Minteer, Daniel Younkins, G.M. Harverstraw and Hiram Dawson, the latter being superintendent.

The plant consists of the building erected in 1872 and the old flouring mill building across the creek. Forty-five operatives are employed to run the 1,338 spindles and the yearly output of wool blankets and flannel cloth for the army is valued at $120,000. A 40-horse gas engine and a steam engine of 75 horsepower are required to turn the spindles. The plant is valued at $50,000.


This point began to be called Craigtown in or about 1843, and afterward Craigsville, which name it still retains. The first child born within its limits was born March 30, 1809.

The flouring mill, which is now part of the woolen mill plant, about 13 rods below the woolen factory, on the right bank of the creek, was erected by John Craig, Jr., Joseph T. McCurdy, and Samuel S. Wallace, early in 1849, and is a three-story frame structure. In 1871 John Craig died suddenly, soon after breakfast one morning, from neuralgia of the heart. His heirs conveyed the undivided two thirds of the mill property to McCurdy and Joseph Minteer, May 14, 1872, for $2,000. The flouring mill was closed down in 1905 and the building taken over by the woolen mill to allow for necessary expansion.

The first separate assessment of Craigsville was made in 1876, and gave 25 taxables: 1 physician, 3 clerks, 1 boss carder, 2 boss weavers, 1 laborer, 1 helper, 1 dyer, 1 wool sorter, 1 picker, 2 teamsters, 1 spinner, 1 blacksmith, 1 wagonmaker, 1 miller and 1 weaver.

A store was opened near the mills in 1860 by Samuel S. Wallace, John C. Wallace and John Craig, afterward being sold in 1872 to Christopher Leard & Sons. At present this store is owned by J.W. Minteer, who is also the postmaster. The postoffice was established here in 1869 with W.F. Rumberger as the first official in charge.

The village in 1913 has a population of 280, most of whom are dependent on the woolen mills for employment, and consists of 35 houses, a church and two stores.

The Craigsville Methodist Church building was erected in 1884, the first pastor being Rev. D.J. Davis. After him were Revs. George E. Cabell, Paul Sappie and the present pastor, Rev. S.M. Cousin.


A patent was granted in 1809 to Gilbert Wright and Archibald McCall for a tract of 366 acres which they called "Mount Lorenzo," about 1808. It was first assessed to his son William in 1809, and was in the course of a few years removed and a distillery erected on its site, by James Barr, Jr., in 1813. The distillery was replaced by a gristmill with one run of stone, which was operated for several years. Some vestiges of it are still visible. Not many years since the buhrstones used in it were on or near its site.

James Barr, Jr., was assessed as a "schoolmaster" on the list for Buffalo township in 1806-07, but just where his school was is not known. In 1831 he purchased 202 acres from Gilbert Wright for $760 and laid out the town of Worthington on it. The sales of lots were slow until the construction of the Kittanning and Butler turnpike increased the travel through that section. Among the first purchasers were: William Q. Sloan, James Gallagher, Samuel Hutchinson, Levi Bowser, David Claypoole, John Craig, Christian Kenson and Samuel Hutchison.

The first separate assessment list of the town of Worthington was made in 1832, showing 14 lots. Their valuation ranged from $5 to $50, according to location.

The growth of the town was slow. James Sample was assessed in 1837 as a tavern keeper, the old stone tavern still standing in the center of the town in 1913. William C. Piper was the first merchant in that year; Charles Foreman and John McDonald, tailors; Matthias Bernheimer, shoemaker; Robert Staley, blacksmith; Robert Armstrong, wagonmaker, Jacob McDonald, carpenter; William Cratty, tanner. In 1842 John McDonald had opened the second tavern. As late as 1845 the number of taxables did not exceed ten.

Thirty-four signers were on the petition presented to the Quarter Sessions court in 1854, requesting that Worthington be incorporated. The court appointed the necessary officers, and on their report the following year issued the charter. The borough officers elected at the spring election, 1856, were: Dr. John K. Maxwell, burgess; Michael Duffey and Adam Rhodes, justices of the peace; Jacob Mechling, constable; J.G. Clark, H.S. Ehrenfeld, Joseph C. King, John McNarr and James Monroe, town councilmen; James Barr and Samuel Monroe for three years, and Dr. John K. Maxwell for two years, school directors; John T. Ehrenfeld, assessor; David Landis, borough auditor, and John Blain and Samuel Lego, overseers of the poor.

This borough contained the next year after its incorporation nearly 70 taxables, 3 blacksmiths, 2 carpenters, 3 clerks, 2 coachmakers, 1 cabinetmaker, 6 farmers, 1 grocer, 1 harnessmaker, 1 huckster, 10 laborers, 2 merchants, 1 manager, 1 preacher, 1 miller, 1 physician, 3 shoemakers, 1 saddler, 1 teacher, 1 tanner, 1 theological student, 1 tailor, 1 wagonmaker.


The establishment of the Lutheran congregation here was due mostly to the efforts of Mr. And Mrs. Peter Graff. When Peter Graff came here to take charge of the furnace there was no church of any kind near, so he at once organized a Sunday school in a wagonmaker�s shop, in 1845. Every Sabbath, rain or shine Mr. Graff would open and sweep up the shop and meet the little ones and their elders at the door with a smile and a kind word. Finally he succeeded in getting Rev. G.F. Ehrenfeld to drive out from Kittanning and preach occasionally to the little gathering in a small house he had fitted up for the purpose near the furnace, which the people called the "Furnace Chapel." For about two years they used the chapel, and then the first brick church was built in the town of Worthington. It was considered a model house of worship and contained the first bell ever hung in a steeple in the county. A frame chapel for the Sunday school was later built next to the church. Here, in 1860, the first county teachers� institute was held. The lower story was used for a schoolroom for many years. One of the lady teachers of this school was noted for her spirit, if not of more than average size. On one occasion after she had flogged one of the scholars his irate parent called and threatened to flog her, if she were not a woman. "Oh, you needn�t make that an excuse," she said. "Try it, and I�ll flog you." He left at once.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Buffalo Furnace (changed to Evangelical Lutheran Church of Worthington) was organized in 1847 by Rev. Mr. Ehrenfeld, with the following members: Peter Graff, Susan Graff, James Barr, Sr., John Barr, Susan Barr, George Hutley, John Schantz, William Blain and wife, Jacob Mechling, Barbara Mechling, Mary C. Mechling, John Porterfield, Elizabeth Porterfield, Nancy Porterfield, John Prunkard, Barbara Prunkard, Francis Reges, Sidney Reges.

Peter Graff served as senior elder from 1847 until his death in 1890. W.G. Crawshaw, his successor, from 1890 to his death in 1893; and J. Frank Graff, the next official, is still acceptably filling his father�s old position. Other officers of the church at different periods were: J.C. Morrison, John Barr, John Schantz, William Blain, Joseph Earhart, James Blain, Nicholas Clark, William Meals, Thomas Dipner, H.S. Ehrenfeld, Martin Guiser, G.R. Campbell and W.H. Shearer.

The church has had but six pastors, Rev. George F. Ehrenfeld from 1847 until 1848; Rev. A.C. Ehrenfeld from 1848 until 1858; Rev. F. Rauthrauff from 1858 until 1859; Revs. C. Witmer and H.J.H. Lemicke until 1867, and form then the present one, Rev. J.W. Schwartz. This church in 1876 had a membership of 120; Sabbath school scholars, 125. In 1913 the membership was 235 and the Sabbath school averaged 100 attendants.

Having become overcrowded in the old edifice, in 1888 the second church was torn down and the present artistic and commodious building was erected at a cost of $10,811, Rev. Eli Miller preaching the dedicatory sermon in the completed structure.

Not satisfied in their good work in behalf of the church, the Graff brothers in 1892 erected upon a site just west of the new church a beautiful chapel in memory of their father, Peter Graff, at a cost of $4,000. The deceased members of the Graff family are resting under the shadows of the giant oaks close to the church they loved to attend in life, and pale marble shafts mark the place of their sepulture. Their work is done, but that of their descendants is but commenced and when they also pass from human view their resting place will be beside that of their revered ancestors, in the little cemetery.

In 1894 Hon. E.D. Graff purchased two lots near the church and erected a house for the janitor, donating it to the church.


The Associate, now the United Presbyterian, Church here was organized in 1848. It depended the first year upon supplies. Rev. J.N. Dick, D.D., was its first pastor. He preached here semi-monthly until 1851. Then there were supplies for two years. Rev. John Jamison was pastor about three years, then supplies served nearly a year, when Rev. Thomas Seaton became pastor and continued as such six or seven years, and was followed by Rev. J.L. Grover. The last pastor was Rev. H.F. Hazlett. The number of members in 1876 was 77; Sabbath school scholars, 50. The church edifice, frame, one-story, ceiling 12 feet, 40 by 40 feet, is situated on Ross and Brown, now Church, streets.


The Free Presbyterian Church, of Worthington, was organized by authority of the Presbytery of Mahoning, March 10, 1850, and at first consisted of twelve members, who withdrew from the old school Presbyterian churches of Union, Slate Lick and West Glade Run, on account of their conviction of the crime and injustice of the institution of slavery in the United States, and especially its proposed extension by the abrogation of the Missouri Compromise line. The first members were: John Craig, Sr., Mary Craig, Joseph T. McCurdy, Nancy McCurdy, David Shields, Mary Shields, John Shields, James Stephenson, Margaret Stephenson, William J. McCully, Martha McCully, Mary Craig, Sr., Margaret Craig, Mary Craig, Jr., John Stephenson, Margaret M. Stephenson, Jared M. Irwin, Mary A. Irwin, John Craig, Jr., and Eliza Craig. Its stated supply until 1860 was Rev. George McIlhenny, and thereafter until 1866 Revs. T.I. and J.W. Moffit. In that year a congregational meeting requested the Allegheny Presbytery to take them under their care, which was cheerfully granted.

This church had previously been called "Buffalo," but afterward "Worthington." At the reconstruction of Presbyteries this church was assigned to that of Kittanning. Rev. A.S. Thompson was ordained and installed as its pastor for half time, Nov. 20, 1867. After his death in 1878 the church was without a pastor until 1880, when Rev. James E. Leyda was installed. In 1884 he resigned and Rev. A.J. Gregg was installed as pastor of Worthington and West Glade Run Churches. The pastor in 1913 in Rev. W.K. Cazad.

The first church building, frame, 38 by 41 feet, with a thirty-foot cupola, was situated on an acre lot donated in 1852 by James and Samuel Monroe. The cost of the edifice was $772. Its membership in 1876 was about 75; Sabbath school scholars, about 90. The present edifice was erected in 1897 at a cost of $6,000. The membership is 160 and the Sabbath school is 75.


The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1849, and its first pastor was Rev. Mr. Cooper. Rev. Mr. Tiballs, one of his successors, was in the war of the Rebellion. Membership in 1876 was 80, with a union Sabbath school. Its edifice, frame, one-story, 40 by 35 feet, ceiling 12 feet, is situated on a lot which Samuel Porterfield, Dec. 26, 1849, for $50, conveyed to John Blain, Peter Mobley, Elijah Newton, James B. Porterfield, James, Samuel and Thomas Scott, trustees.


John and Samuel Bradford in 1845 conveyed to James Campbell, David and John Claypoole, trustees of the "Union" Baptist Church, one acre, on which the present building was erected the following year. This church was organized by twenty members of the regular Union Baptist Church in North Buffalo township, who withdrew from the latter April 18, 1846, for that purpose. The original members were Elizabeth, Mary, Peter and Sophira Bowser, Mary, Sarah and William Bradford, James and May Campbell, David Claypoole, Jr., Jane, John, Mary Ann, Nancy, Sarah, Samuel, Samuel, Jr., Susannah and William Claypoole and Catherine Martin.


The farmers and some others of Franklin and adjacent townships held an agricultural meeting on Wednesday and Thursday Oct. 4 and 5, 1865, on that part of "Mount Lorenzo" adjacent to the Free Presbyterian church, at which, for so limited a local one, there was a very creditable display of animals and agricultural and mechanical products.

James Barr, Jr., was assessed as a "schoolmaster" in 1806-07, whose school was probably on or near "Mount Lorenzo."

Worthington became, of course, when incorporated as a borough, a separate school district, and a frame schoolhouse was erected in the angle formed by the junction of Ross street and the public road. Its statistics for 1860 were: Average number of months taught, 4; teacher, male, 1; monthly salary, $20; male scholars, 24; female scholars, 37; average number attending school, 48; cost of teaching each scholar per month, 41 cents; levied for school purposes, $127.25; levied for building, $127.25; received from State appropriation, $24.95; received from collectors, $122; cost of instruction, $80; fuel, etc., $18.66. For 1876: Number months taught, 5; male teacher, 1; monthly salary, $35; male scholars, 28; female, 37; average number attending school, 37; cost per month, 64 cents; levied for school and building purposes, $188.41; received from State appropriation, $53; from taxes and other sources, $192.24; paid for teacher�s wages, $175; for fuel, etc., $43.62.

In 1913 the number of schools was 2; months taught, 9; male teacher, 1; female teacher, 1; average salaries, male, $75; female, $50; male scholars, 30; female scholars, 36; average attendance, 47; cost of each scholar per month, $2.21; tax levied, $946.49; received from State, $539.26; from other sources, $1,259.62; value of schoolhouses, $3,450; teachers� wages, $1,125; other expenditures, $416.92.

The school directors were: Dr. J.H. King, president; Charles M. Morrison, secretary; J. Frank Graff, treasurer; J.R. Barnhart, J.D. Graham.


Worthington Academy, first called "Buffalo Institute," was organized by the Lutherans in 1852, the first principal being Mr. C.J. Ebrehart, who taught one session. The sessions of the institution were so irregular that we will only give the names and dates of the instructors. W.F. Ulery, 1853-54; Rev. A.C. Ehrenfeld, 1866; L.W. Knipe and E.S. Heaney, 1868; E.H. Dickinson, 1868-70; S. Crist, 1871; D.H. Culp, 1873; J.C.R. Ewing and M. Cunningham, 1874-75; J.T. Young, A.C. Good and J.P. Wiley, 1878-81; Newton Donaldson, 1881; H. Wallace, 1882; J.J. Ralston, J.P. Davis and W.A. Nicholson, from 1883 to 1889, when the life of the institution ceased. The resultant success of the institute was great, although the sessions were irregular. It filled the want of a higher grade of instruction than the schools of that day provided.

Worthington postoffice was established in 1840, with John McDonald as postmaster. John M. Williams was postmaster after 1889. The present official is W.W. Helm.

The town cemetery is a beautiful plot of ground, given to his townsmen by Joseph M. Jordan.


The 62 taxables shown by the assessment list of 1876 included: 2 blacksmiths, 1 carder, 1 cabinetmaker, 4 carpenters, 1 clerk, 13 farmers, 1 gardener, 1 manufacturer, 4 merchants, 1 millwright, 1 miner, 3 ministers, 1 painter, 1 peddler, 1 saddler, 1 shoemaker, 1 tailor, 1 tanner, 1 tinner, 1 wagonmaker.

The officials for 1913 were: L. Stepp, burgess; W.H. Shearer, James Hazlett, J. Arthur Claypoole, Robert Lewis and M.J. Clark, councilmen. C.R. Fullerton is the assessor.

L. Stepp and M.H. Claypoole are the hotelkeepers, W.W. Helm, T.W. Milligan and William H. McHaddon are storekeepers, and C.E. Walker is the undertaker. The resident physicians are Drs. O.C. Clark, Jesse H. King and J.M. Dunkle. John R. and Warren W. Barnhart are blacksmiths. The liveryman is John Noble.

The population of the borough in 1860 was 213; in 1870, 214; in 1890, 246; in 1900, 398; in 1910, 436.

The assessment returns for 1913 show: number of houses and lots, 82, value, $31,870, average, $388.06; horses, 42, value, $1,082, average, $25; cows, 32, value, $643, average, $20; taxable occupations, 167, amount, $6,230; total valuation, $71,470. Money at interest, $36,627.09.

The only other settlement in this township is Nichola, a station on the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh railroad, west of Craigsville.


The population of West Franklin in 1870 was 1,314; in 1880, 1,200; in 1890, 1,512; in 1900, 965; in 1910, 871.

The assessment returns for 1913 show: Number of acres, timber, 4,636, clear, 10,743, valued at $241,348; houses and lots, 29, value, $5,208; average $179.58; horses, 202, value, $9,111, average, $45.19; cows, 192, value, $2,846, average, $14.82; taxable occupations, 353; amount, $3,285; total valuation, $273,066. Money at interest, $17,083.65.


The first schoolhouse in this township was a rude log structure, 16 by 16 feet, situated near Lennington run in the forks of the road, not far from the present borough of Worthington. The teachers in sequence were Messrs. Jack, Speer and Russell. Another school was on the Hohn tract near Little Buffalo creek, and was taught by Herman Cook.

Number of schools in 1876, 8; average number of months taught, 5; male teachers, 2; female teachers, 6; average monthly salaries of both male and female, $30; male scholars, 263; female scholars, 160; average number attending school, 249; cost of teaching each per month, 73 cents; tax levied for school and building purposes, $2,355.60; received from State appropriation, $243.66; from taxes and other sources, $2,690.50; cost of schoolhouses, $250; paid teachers� wages, $1,200; fuel, etc., $401.58.

In 1913 the number of schools was 8; months taught, 7; male teacher, 1; female teachers, 7; average salaries, male, $50; female, $49.29; male scholars, 92; female scholars, 99; average attendance, 90; cost per month of each scholar, $2.67; amount tax levied, $2,717.72; received from State, $1,363.04; from other sources, $2,717.72; value of schoolhouses, $6,680; teachers� wages, $2,660; other expenses, $732.33.

The school directors for that year were: D.L. Hawk, president; George L. Hindman, secretary; Frank Bowser, treasurer; W.E. Minteer, R.L. McKee.


Within the limits of West Franklin township the section extends upward from the Pottsville conglomerate into the lower barren group, thus embracing all the lower productives. The area of the lower barrens is confined to the southeast and northwest corners of the township. The area of the Pottsville conglomerate stretches from McKed schoolhouse, on Little Buffalo creek, southward to the milldam above the Buffalo mills, and thence westward up the Big Buffalo past Craigsville to Hindman�s. In all this area it is closely confined to the region of the creek, being in fact only just lifted above the water�s edge. The lower productives have therefore a wide outspread in this township. The outcrop of the upper Freeport coal skirts the edge of the lower barren area, passing just above Worthington into East Franklin. So far as investigated, it has little thickness here, and its limestone is not of much consequence. The same is true of the area of this coal found in the northwest corner of the township. But the lower Kittanning coal is persistent as a workable bed, usually about 3 1/2 feet thick. The ferriferous limestone is in good condition and has the buhrstone ore on its top. Both were used in the Buffalo Furnace, which also used some ore from the Freeport deposit, found in the hills west of the stack.

Two miles south of Worthington the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh railroad has projected an extension and the Pittsburgh Limestone Company has opened mines to work the ferriferous limestone for both building purposes and the manufacture of cement. A town of several hundred population has sprung up and the output is over sixty cars a day.

The upper Freeport coal on the hillside, over the turnpike, near Buffalo furnace, on the west bank of Buffalo creek, is 18 inches thick. The Kittanning coalbed is there below it, which used to yield 3 1/2 feet of pure non-pyritous coal. The ferriferous limestone is there 15 feet thick, blue and solid, above which is an orebed, accompanied by very little buhrstone. The recent blasting for the roadbed of the B., R. & P. Railroad reveals these strata in all their beauty at that point. Some trouble was experienced in grading the turnpike here after the change made necessary, owing to the thickness of the coal strata.

The Tionesta sandstone appears there in the bed of the stream with the ferriferous shales and workable Clarion coal above.

The Kellersburg anticlinal axis traverses the township from northeast to southwest, crosses the Big Buffalo near Craigsville and extends across the Little Buffalo below the mouth of Long run. It is the axis which crosses the Allegheny near the mouth of Red Bank creek.

The greatest altitude above sea level is registered on the crest of a hill one mile north of Craigsville, 1,548 feet high.

Source: Page(s) 285-292, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J. H. Beers & Co., 19114.
Transcribed July 1998 by Michael S. Caldwell for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed by Michael S. Caldwell for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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