PART OF OLD BUFFALO TOWNSHIP - SETTLEMENT - EARLY MILLS - CHURCHES - SCHOOLS - POPULATION - GEOLOGICAL
The remnant that was left of Buffalo township after Franklin had been taken from it was divided in 1847 into North and South Buffalo. At the first election after the division John Boney was elected justice, James Claypoole, judge of election; James Kiskadden and Edward Manso, inspectors; Robert Galbraith, constable; John Barnett and David Beatty, supervisors; James Maxwell and Reuben Stonecipher, school directors; Joseph Bullman and John Smith, Jr., auditors; Jacob Arb and John Boney, overseers of the poor; William Colwell, assessor.
The settlers in this section of Armstrong county were few before 1800, and most of them occupied the portions of this township that were near to the Allegheny or the waters of Buffalo creek. Some of these old-time pioneers are to be found in the following list, which is necessarily incomplete, through lack of reliable records.
The earliest recorded settlement was by John Smith (his right name), who was one of the first justices of the peace in the county. He made an improvement on a tract in the northwestern portion of this township, then in the limits of old Buffalo, in 1793, and settled there permanently in 1796. From 1800 to 1803 his house was the election place for those who lived west of the Allegheny. Contemporary with Smith was Jacob White, whose place of settlement was in the southern corner of the township, at the point on the Allegheny called "White�s Eddy." The same year Daniel Green located in the section since called the "Green Settlement," from the many members of that family residing there.
The year 1794 brought James Rayburn to the section south of the village of South Buffalo, and Adam Maxwell to the section opposite Ford City. Maxwell was an old Indian fighter and scout and one of the first elders of Slate Lick Presbyterian Church.
In 1796 Samuel and William Green added to the population of the "Green Settlement, and Samuel Kelly, James Cogley, Sr., William Jack, Leonard White, John Cowan, Hugh Callen, John Sipe, James Hill, Patrick Callen and James Perry settled at various points. Some of them remained, but a few left after a short trial of the hardships of pioneer life.
Those coming after the above dates and until 1816 were: James Sloan, Adam Morrow, William Parks, William Jack, William McLaughlin, John Campbell, James Hannegan, William McAnninch, Matthew Hopkins, Adam Bowser, Benjamin and William White, Jonathan Moore, Hezekiah Claypoole, Peter Hammer, Casper Easley, John Galbraith, Andrew Kennedy, Jonathan Moore, George and John Cornman, David Hall, Sr., John Sipe, James Hill, James Barr, John McKean, Eben S. Kelly, John Duffy.
Other land owners who were not all settlers, but sometimes held the land for speculation, were: James Clemens, William Henry, Jehu Woodward, James H. Claypoole, Robert S. Conner, Samuel J. Bruner, Andrew Bruner, Joseph B. Smith, John and James Green, William Kelly, Noah Bowser, Joseph B. Smith, George B. Sloan, Alexis J. Bonnette, Adam Maxwell, Hugh L. Cooper, Robert Adams, Robert McKee, Michael Truby, Thomas J. Roney, David Huston, Robert G. Porterfield, Dr. Thomas Allison, William Barnett, John Harris, Robert Dinsmore, Matthew Cole, William Toy, Alexander McNickle, Hugh C. Black, J.F. Crookshanks, Jeremiah Douze, John Summerville, David Sturgeon, Alexander Colwell, James Milligan, William McCune, Jacob White, Nathaniel Torbett, Henry Torbett, John Roudebush, James Kiskadden, James Matthews, Andrew Kiskadden, Samuel Beatty, Isaac Allsworth, Samuel H. Harrison, Samuel Dumm, John Leister, Peter Shearer, David Griffin, Hugh Harkins, David C. Boggs, Abraham Smith, Edward Wilson, Reuben Stonecipher, Henry Fullerton, David Linton, Charles Gense, Edward Manso, William L. Speer, John McDevitt, John Lundy.
Dr. Thomas H. Allison, mentioned above, was the pioneer stock raiser of the county, having at one time 48 Jerseys, 16 Shorthorns and 8 Ayrshires on his farm, near the present town of Applewold. After his death the stock was sold and there is no record of similar enterprises to the present time.
Alexis J. Bonnette was consul to Bordeaux, France, in the administration of President Pierce, and Edward Manso was a German homeopathic physician, the first in the county, coming here from the old country in 1812.
Sawmills were of great importance to the settlers of North Buffalo, and after they had managed to get the land under cultivation and supply their families with the necessities, they were not slow to create these useful institutions.
The first sawmill was that of Casper Easley, on Nicholson�s run, just north of the present village of Slate Lick, which is near the line in South Buffalo. William Green the same year (1805) put up a mill on Glade run, near the later settlement of "Williamsburg." Another sawmill was also built on Glade run, above Green�s, by Jerome S. and Alexis J. Bonnette.
David Hall, Sr., built the first gristmill on Buffalo creek in 1805. His son, David Hall, was later the noted and eloquent pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Indiana, Pa. The next year the gristmill of William Green was built, which was of logs and had unusual features of construction. Green attempted to create a town in his section, naming it "Williamsburg," but the project was a failure, only one lot being sold. All the effect his efforts had was to cause the title "Green�s Settlement" to be applied to his neighborhood. A short distance below this mill was located the village of North Buffalo, the postoffice having been established in 1870, with Miles J. Green in charge. This hamlet has not gained in population with the years and at present has but two merchants, C.D. Reed and James U. Southworth.
The first blacksmith in this township, as well as in this section of the county, was Joseph Cogley, who opened a shop in 1805 near the northern limits of this township, on the Allegheny. His place was the nearest one to Kittanning in those days.
The first piece of calico introduced into this section was packed from east of the mountains by William Parke, and was used for dresses for his wife and Mrs. James Green.
Hezekiah Claypoole and several other settlers were Baptists, and they early made arrangements to build a house of worship. An agreement and bond were signed by him and Nathaniel Bowser to give a deed for a half acre at the forks of Nicholson�s run, now called "Five Points." On this spot in 1852 the church was erected that is still standing. Before 1810, however, preaching had been held by Rev. Speers, and for some time after different traveling preachers served the congregation at private houses.
Union Baptist Church was reorganized Oct. 19, 1841, at which time Hezekiah and Lucinda Claypoole, Archibald and Rachel Moore, Mary Geary, Mary Hazlett and Mary Bowser were among the members, who remained from the original organization. Other members were James H. Claypoole and his wife Isabella, David Campbell and wife, Joseph Claypoole and wife, Mary Claypoole, James Jack, Mary Ann Jack, Reuben McKenna, Hannah Claypoole, Sarah Jane Price, John Cook. Upon the 18th of April, 1846, twenty members withdrew and formed the Franklin church. The present pastor is Rev. A.F. Schumaker.
In the northeast part of this township, at the forks of Glade run, is the hamlet of "Center Hill," surrounding the Dunkard church and cemetery. This church was organized about 1820. Services were at first held in private houses. Rev. George Hoke was the first pastor. Adam, David and Joseph Bowser and their wives and Elizabeth Swighart were some of the original twelve members. The present church edifice, frame, one-story, 40 by 48 feet, was erected in 1861. Members in 1876, 40; Sabbath school scholars, 35. Rev. J.B. Wampler was the last pastor. There are now no regular services here.
There is a schoolhouse on the public road, nearly forty rods southeast of the crossroads, in the immediate vicinity of the Dunkard church.
Chambers T. Bowser was first assessed here as a blacksmith in 1871, and J.F. Crookshanks as a merchant in 1872.
The Guardian Angel Roman Catholic Church was organized in 1825 by Father A.A. Lambing, a native of Manor township. The little building used by the congregation is located in the Easley settlement, just north of the line of South Buffalo, and has no regular resident pastor. For a time Father Lambing served the people here, but the charge was later transferred to the care of the Capuchins, who have a monastery in Herman, Butler county. Father Beno, from the monastery, gives his services to that church on alternate Sabbaths, the other days holding Mass at Rough Run, just over the line in Butler county.
The Methodist Church at North Buffalo village is served occasionally by Rev. M.R. Hackman of Ford City.
There was, in the course of three or four years, a sufficient number of children in "the Green settlement" and vicinity for a school. So the first schoolhouse within what is now North Buffalo township was erected on the above-mentioned second tract, settled by James Green. It was a log structure, 16 feet square, and finished and furnished like other primitive temples of knowledge described in the general sketch of this county. Benjamin Biggs was the first teacher in that house, who taught spelling, reading, writing and about the first half of arithmetic. The tetxtbooks in orthography and reading were Dillworth�s spelling book, the Testament and the Bible. Another log schoolhouse, with clapboard doors, was soon afterward built in place of the first one about ten rods northeast of it.
The next schoolhouse after that on the James Green tract was a log one, with clapboard roof, was built on this tract about 1812, and John Harris was the first teacher there. Schools had been taught in private houses before its erection.
In 1860 - Number of schools, 6; average number months taught, 4; male teachers, 3; female teachers, 3; average salaries of both male and female teachers, $18.33; male scholars, 180; female scholars, 166; average number attending school, 220; cost monthly for each scholar, 35 cents; levied for school purposes, $513.95; levied for building purposes, $308.37; received from State appropriation, $77.22; from collectors, $468.25; cost of instruction, $440; fuel, etc., $38.23.
In 1876 - Number of schools, 6; average number of months taught, 5; male teachers, 6; average monthly salaries $33; male scholars, 250; female scholars, 258; average number attending school, 337; cost per month, 78 cents; levied for school and building purposes, $2,581.45; received from State appropriation, $343.17; from taxes, etc., $2,272.77; teachers� wages, $1,815; fuel, etc., $207.80.
In 1913 the number of schools was: 7; months taught, 7; male teachers, 5; female teachers, 3; average salaries, male $42; female, $41.66; male scholars, 123; female scholars, 94; average attendance, 156; cost per month, each scholar, $2.52; tax levied, $1,911.41; received from State, $1,414.82; other sources, $2,517.67; value of schoolhouse, $10,000; teachers� wages, $2,345; other expenses, $1,485.81.
The school directors are: E.E. Claypoole, president; Rev. A.F. Schumaker, secretary; Harvey Claypoole, treasurer; Harvey Jack, W.B. Colwell.
There are no important towns or large settlements in North Buffalo. The Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company of Ford City have a large sand plant on the Allegheny, near North Buffalo, with a grinding mill, mines and a telephone line across the river to the main plant. With the exception of a few superintendents, the entire population of sixty-three men at the sand plant are foreigners, unnaturalized.
The population of this township in 1850 was 916; in 1860, 1,175; in 1870, 1,057; in 1880, 1,216; in 1890, 1,108; in 1900, 1,089; in 1910, 1,120.
According to the mercantile appraisers� list there were 3 merchants of the fourteenth class in this township in 1876. According to assessment list for the same year, those of other occupations, except agricultural, were: Laborers, 32; blacksmiths, 2; carpenters, 4; school teachers, 3; wagonmaker, 1; miners, 2; plasterers, 2; stonecutter, 1.
The assessment returns for 1913 show: Number of acres clear, 10,488, timber, 4,234, valued at, $246,213; houses and lots, 42, valued at, $6,405, average, $152.50; horses, 273, value, $10,760, average, $39.41; cows, 283, value, $3,990, average, $14.09; taxable occupations, 427, amount $6,490; total valuation, $341,494. Money at interest, $73,517.
The surface rocks here consist of lower barrens and lower productives, nearly 300 feet of the barrens being here represented, and covering the highlands about Slate Lick with smooth argillaceous shales. The hills along the river front are more forbidding in consequence of the massive condition of the Freeport sandstone which overlies the lower Kittanning coal. The ferriferous limestone is above water level in this township only along Rough run and Buffalo creek, where it rises above the level of the stream beds in obedience to the Craigsville anticlinal extending here across the Butler county line. The limestone is from 15 to 18 feet thick, with the buhrstone ore in place. It was once operated there for Buffalo furnace. The Clarion coal is also here above water level, 3 feet thick, which yields indifferent coal. The upper Freeport coal is nearly obscure throughout almost the entire township. The lower Kittanning coal is above the water level for a brief interval along Buffalo creek in the region of Buffalo furnace and elsewhere along the Allegheny, below the mouth of Glade run, and under the stream beds elsewhere in the township.
The Boggsville anticlinal axis runs lengthwise through the township from northeast to southwest. It passes close to Center Hill; thence southward into South Buffalo township. The dips are gentle.
The highest point in the township is west of Center Hill, between Marrowbone and Little Glade runs, and is 1,431 feet above the sea.
Source: Page(s) 292-295, 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 (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)
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