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
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
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
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
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
Contributed by Michael S. Caldwell for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy
Armstrong County Genealogy Project Notice:
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